Some author lists becoming alphabetically sorted when contributions were created


On our conference, I’ve noticed a strange behaviour of the author list on a few contributions.

On some contributions, the author list was alphabetically sorted despite the fact that the abstract was submitted with a specific order imposed by the submitter.

When I checked the original abstract, I realized the author lists were manually sorted when submitted but somehow became alphabetically sorted in the contribution.



To fix the ordering I have to disable alphabetical ordering so that I can reorder the authors as the submitter intended.

I am trying to figure out what causes this. So far I have found a few contributions that showed this effect (author lists now fixed):

I thought that the problem may be caused by the “β” character that is used by all of these authors in the title (and is indeed how I found 3 out of 4 of the examples above). However, I have found that there are many other authors who have used the β character but their contributions show a correct author list ordering, so I haven’t yet got a good diagnosis of why it is happening.

Is there a method to search/filter for contributions that have alphabetically ordered author lists?


I think I found the problem here which stems from the fact that we don’t take the right ordering into account when rendering authors defined in a Contribution. I have prepared a fix for it so now we have to wait until it gets merged.


Hm, actually I was wrong. I can’t find the root cause for this since I can’t reproduce your bug. It should work as expected since we order persons by the internal position in the list.

Thanks for checking!

I am also trying to reproduce it to try to find the cause. If I can have some idea of how widespread it is in our database it might help - but we have around 600 poster abstracts and I wouldn’t want to look through all of them manually (!) I was only made aware of this when one of the authors contacted us.

To be clear, it doesn’t happen on every abstract - I just found these 4 so far. Most of the other ones (that I looked at) were fine.

Which version of Indico are you using?

The only way I see so far to end in a state like this requires to perform the following steps:

  1. Create an abstract with an alphabetically sorted list of authors
  2. Accept the abstract (this creates a linked contribution)
  3. Reset the judgment of the abstract
  4. Edit the abstract changing the order of the authors
  5. Accept the abstract

Now, the abstract has the custom order whereas the contribution sorts the authors alphabetically.


Hi Michael,

Thanks for your troubleshooting and replies. Sorry for the delayed reply - our event took place last week!

We were using 2.2 when I noticed this error, but the contributions would have been created when we were still on 2.1.8 (or the versions previous to that). The earliest contribution of the ones I linked to was created on 15 May 2019.

The abstracts did not have an alphabetically sorted list of authors. I can also see from the log of email confirmation sent to the submitter/authors that the authors’ list was not sorted alphabetically in the initial submission/acceptance. None of the abstracts I linked to have had their judgements reset and re-accepted (I am the only person executing judgements since the chair declined to use the online interface…), so I am still confused about how this came about.