This questions supplements the existing: how to refer to a source with typos in the title, where OP spotted grammar mistakes in the title of papers mentioned in the reference list and wondered whether or not they should correct them.

As a major con:

The purpose of references is to help readers locate your sources as easily as possible. Correcting titles might give the impression that you are referring to another work.

But what about mistakes that have little to no influence on search engines or paper identity such as, for example, punctuation and missing accents?

In my specific case, an important keyword features an en-dash and the french circumflex accent. I find it written in four different ways in the titles of my bibliography.


Depending on where your sources have been published, the format/style guide you are using, and where you have found them, the definitive way of referring to a source is to cite it using the title as it is written in the source publication.

In some cases you will find character accents missing as it is not always a trivial matter to write accents - this depends on the character set you are using. I have seen that older papers and articles that were typeset for English publications simply did not have those characters available in the character set used at the time. Thus accents and special characters were "anglicised" - for example, château as chateau, leçon as lecon, etc.

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