Making changes to citations and bibliographies stick across collaborators

I work for a publisher, and our authors sometimes send us manuscripts with EndNote bibliographies. This is in theory a good thing, because it means errors in citations can be fixed in EndNote and then updated in the Word documents, rather than us having to go over every single reference with a fine-tooth comb to catch any comma out of place.

Unfortunately, in practice, it doesn’t seem to work very well, and I’m not sure if that’s because we’re doing something wrong, or because we’re trying to do something that’s not possible.

I’m currently proofreading an edited volume in close collaboration with the editors. The style used requires both “Author Year: Page” and “Author (Year: Page)” as output formats, depending on whether the citation is already in brackets or not. Whenever I find a citation that is not correctly formatted, I can edit that citation in the EndNote plugin to use the correct formatting, and it sticks as long as I keep the document. I can close it and reopen it, and it will still look correct.

But when I send the document back to the editors and they open it, the formatting changes I have made are reverted back to what they were before I changed it.

For example, if I received the EndNote-enabled document from the editors and found the following in it (where “Watson 2008” is an EndNote citation):

According to Watson 2008: 35, the Baskervilles are best known for their cats.

I would use the EndNote plugin to format the citation (using the preset “Display As: Author (Year)” instead of “Default”) so it looks like this instead:

According to Watson (2008: 35), the Baskervilles are best known for their cats.

And it will keep looking like that on my machine. But when I then send the Word file back to the editors and they open it on their machines, it would again read:

According to Watson 2008: 35, the Baskervilles are best known for their cats.

How and why exactly does this happen, and is there a way to avoid it?


All the chapters in the book (individual Word documents) use the same EndNote library, which is hosted in a Dropbox folder that both the editors and I have access to, in order to keep citations in sync both across chapters and across collaborators (each of the editors plus me). I’m not sure if that’s the best solution, or if having one person share the library with the others would be better. I’m also not sure if that ought even to have any effect on citation edits not sticking, since I don’t see how citation formatting can depend on the library (can it?); but since I’m still rather new to EndNote, I figured it was worth mentioning.

If they don’t have your output style, it may be applying an output style that doesn’t have that template.  – Safer to strip out the endnote fields once you don’t require further citation editing? 

They do have the output style I’m using – it’s their output style.

Turns out the problem was much more profane: the editor I’d sent the file to had gotten it mixed up with another version of the file, so she was opening the wrong file. Once we got that sorted out and she opened the correct document, the citations I’d changed displayed correctly.