I need to cite a paper in an upcoming paper and conference talk. The paper appeared in a journal several years ago, and normally I would just cite the version that appeared in the journal. However, several important calculations in the section which is relevant to my work were incorrect, and a corrected version has since been posted to the arXiv. How should I cite it?

One approach would be to just cite the arXiv version, but I feel like this gives the impression that the article has not appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, while it in fact appeared in a top field journal. On the other hand I certainly don't want to cite the version with the incorrect calculations, as they make closely following the relevant section impossible. Is there a standard protocol for this?


I would list the published version in the bibliography, with something like "corrected version available as [insert its article ID] from http://www.arXiv.org" appended to the end of its entry in the bibliography. When you discuss the article in the text of your paper, you should mention the corrections there too.

You should certainly not cite the arXiv version without explaining that the published version contains a mistake (readers may assume the published version is a cleaned up copy of the arXiv version, rather than vice versa), and it seems weird to say this without actually explaining where the article was published.

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    I agree, but I recommend that both versions be cited. That is, there should be two entries in the bibliography, one for the incorrect version, and another for the corrected version (and not just one entry with an appended comment). (I am assuming that there is no limit to the number of references you can cite.) – Joel Reyes Noche Aug 8 '13 at 13:04
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    @JoelReyesNoche: What's the advantage of separate entries? I don't have a strong opinion, but I would tend to put them in the same entry if I consider them small variants of the same article and two entries if they are substantially different. (So, for me, maybe it would depend on how big the corrections are. Typo fixes would be a variant of the same article, while substituting in an entirely new section would not.) – Anonymous Mathematician Aug 8 '13 at 13:52
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    I, too, do not have a strong opinion on this. I was more concerned with emphasizing that the two papers were different. The first has been peer-reviewed, the second hasn't; the first has an error in it, the second (most likely) hasn't. I agree with what you say in the comment above. – Joel Reyes Noche Aug 8 '13 at 23:06

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