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Some journals will allow you to correct the published article if it's still online only and hasn't gone to press. Others will only publish an erratum and will not correct the article itself. You can ask the journal editor. I think if you can get the actual article corrected, then it's worth it. I wouldn't bother with just doing an erratum though for such small mistakes.

When I was in philosophy I worked very hard to ensure my published work didn't have mistakes, even simple typos. I don't think I ever succeeded. But new copies of Lord of The Rings still have typos. You can't win. The goal should be to keep mistakes to a minimum, not to eliminate them. Little mistakes in a footnote probably don't matter, and most likely only a couple people in the entire world will notice the mistakes anyway.

Trystan Goetze

My main thought on this is that more publishers should invest the money they make from university libraries into hiring proper copyeditors and proofreaders, as trade presses do. It's just another bit of free labour researchers give to academic publishers that is better done by someone with the specific training for catching these kinds of slip-ups, not to mention the paid time to do it. Moreover, there is no substitute for a fresh reader when it comes to catching mistakes. The occasions when I've gotten actual copyediting notes back from a publisher when checking proofs have been few, but always helpful — except in the case where the publisher used a natural language model instead of a human being, which introduced more errors than it caught.


I called MP and MT one-premise inferences in a paper. Whoops. I know better, obviously!

Oh well. You just have to grit your teeth and move on.

TT prof

I suspect the best thing to do is to be laid back about possibility of error but perfectionistic in efforts to preempt it!

Assistant Professor

How do we get journals to change their norms so that they don't expect ridiculously fast turn-around times on proofs? It might not take me 48 or 72 hours to proof a paper, but I might not be able to do it within the 48-72 hours allotted to me to do it. Yes, I have at times pushed back and proposed an alternate deadline. But it is obscene to expect people to drop everything or fit it into these turn-around times and do a good job.

I recently had a paper accepted to a journal that had an AMAZING copy-editor on staff and caught not only errors, but made my paper significantly better. I definitely will be submitting there again.

Most of the time figuring out systems on the front end that work for you is best: A staff member in my department will provide proofing support to me if their schedule permits and as often as possible I ask their help for an extra set of eyes. Working with co-authors can also be helpful for extra-eyes on something even if you are the corresponding author ultimately responsible for the proofs.

But maybe recognizing that we should only hope others read our work closely enough to catch these errors themselves, and if they do, we should be so lucky to have attentive readers?

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