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I have discovered an error in my paper published in a journal. I am a PhD student and the original paper was published with my advisor and two other researchers from different universities. The correction of the error, which was a significant amount of work, but luckily ultimately did not change any of the conclusions, was done in collaboration with my advisor, but without almost any interaction from the two external coauthors of the original paper. They know about it, though, and agreed with the changes I made.

So my question is: Should the authors of a corrigendum always be the same as the ones for the original paper? If this matters, my field is numerical mathematics/scientific computing.

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I can think about a few arguments to include all original authors as authors of the corrigendum.

  1. They actually work on the corrigendum by reading your manuscript and making comments;
  2. The corrigendum has no "primary" value without the original paper, it can be considered as an extra chapter. It does not really matter that you worked on this chapter more than they, since they probably contributed to other parts of the paper;
  3. How would it look if you publish corrigendum without them? A little bit like "These senior guys screw it up, but luckily I able to fix it", isn't it? Do you really think this is an impression you want to make considering their contribution?
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Thanks for your reply. As I have the feeling that you assume that this is not what I think (as this is completely new to me, I do not have an opinion about this, that is why I was interested in opinions different from my advisor's one): I do not mind at all including them as authors. I was just wondering whether this is the right thing to do, because normally, authorship means that you contributed (your first item took not place yet). :-) –  Lea Jul 23 at 8:30
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3. is an important point. It could look even worse than that: if authors A,B,C,D write a paper and the erratum is only written by A and B, then to me it looks like C and D are somehow not endorsing the erratum: i.e., they either do not agree that there is a problem or they don't agree with the fix. If that is actually the case, then I suppose they should not be coauthors (how could they be?). Conversely, if this is not the case then avoiding giving that impression already seems like a good reason to include all the original authors. –  Pete L. Clark Jul 23 at 9:02
    
@Lea: An erratum is not necessarily a "contribution". Even if it is, the contribution (in mathematics) need not be by the named author! For instance there is a published erratum which describes an error that was pointed out by me and another mathematician...but the erratum was formally authored by the (solo) original author of the paper (three different people). The point of an erratum is not to "gain points" but rather to set the record straight. –  Pete L. Clark Jul 23 at 9:05
    
@Pete L. Clark Thanks for the explanation. Especially your comments on the third point are convincing. For the "contribution": I do not think publishing errors is a good way to "gain points" and I would be very happy if I could just not publish anything at all. Maybe I should be happy to share the responsibility. It just felt wrong writing names of people on a document that so far did not even read it. However, I think you both convinced me. –  Lea Jul 23 at 9:15
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@Lea: Certainly you want every named author of the erratum to read it! –  Pete L. Clark Jul 23 at 10:08

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