i found some topographical errors mainly missing spellings in one of my published papers. However the errors does not alter the meaning or concept of the paper. I contacted the joirnal editor but told me that it remains topographical error. Am just worried about it when readers find these mistakes. what do i do

  • 3
    Proofreading everything you write carefully before you publish it is generally a good habit and also the reason why the journal sends you the galley proofs. I suggest you develop this habit and start with this question. Spellcheckers are available as browser plugins and can help. For instance, the first person singular pronoun is always capitalized in English.
    – Roland
    Nov 27 '18 at 7:15
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    I'm sure you mean typographical errors rather than topographical?
    – henning
    Nov 27 '18 at 7:32
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    @henning: That's the first thing I noticed! Possibly one could call this a meta error, where "meta" is roughly used in this sense. Nov 27 '18 at 9:23
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    @henning I'm sure they do, but it's too beautiful for me to correct :)
    – Flyto
    Nov 27 '18 at 10:36
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    "I", "typographical", "," "mistaken", ",", "do", "journal", "who"... etc. Get yourself a proof-reader!
    – Strawberry
    Nov 27 '18 at 11:45

As you discovered, journals usually don't correct typographical errors if the paper's meaning is unaffected. Publishing a correction is a lot of trouble, and they don't want to do it unless there is a compelling reason.

So there is nothing you can do. You will just have to live with those errors being there.

Perhaps it will motivate you to proofread your next paper more carefully before submitting.


Make all papers available on a website and update them if necessary.

I wouldn't update the website for typos, but I might update the offline paper to correct typos and later update the website should more significant changes be made.*

*Corrections, revisions, updates, etc., are time consuming, yet offer little reward; prioritise your time.

  • I really wouldn't do this. Hosting a copy of your published paper on your personal website: Great. Making changes to it, where those changes happen after the published version is fixed: Dubious, and potentially a way that a bad actor might try to sneak around peer review. Sure, if they're just typos it doesn't matter, but then again they don't matter, so why bother.
    – Flyto
    Nov 27 '18 at 10:37
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    @Flyto How is advancing research dubious? How might such advances allow a bad actor to sneak around peer review? Sure, researchers can correct technical mistakes, but that is surely only ever a good thing? (I'd recommend noting that a revision contains such corrections.) Peer review isn't avoided, the formally published version is authoritative, other versions aren't.
    – user2768
    Nov 27 '18 at 10:47
  • when changes have been made from the published version, it is no longer a self-hosted copy of a peer-reviewed paper - it's a new work, not peer-reviewed, which shares a lot of content with a peer-reviewed paper (which incidentally may be a breach of copyright). I would expect to see such a document very clearly labelled, within the document as well as on the website.
    – Flyto
    Nov 27 '18 at 13:44

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