Science and Orthographic/Typographical Errors

Some people appreciate the attention of the other to correct their orthographic/typographical errors.

Others find it uncool to just point formal errors, finding it ideal to jointly comment on the content.

Given that, in terms of scientific rigor, how important is the orthographic/typographic rigor? And how does that vary?

As a side note, on a personal level, reading a scientific text with orthographic/typographical errors is quite a turn off.

closed as off-topic by user2768, Jon Custer, user3209815, Scott Seidman, PLL May 7 at 14:02

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "The answer to this question strongly depends on individual factors such as a certain person’s preferences, a given institution’s regulations, the exact contents of your work or your personal values. Thus only someone familiar can answer this question and it cannot be generalised to apply to others. (See this discussion for more info.)" – user2768, Jon Custer, user3209815, Scott Seidman
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    Is "how important is the orthographic/typographic rigor?" a fancy way to ask "Should I tell people about spelling mistakes in their work?" – Nate Eldredge May 7 at 16:49
  • (In accordance with Muphry's law, I should tell yuo that there are several grammatical errors in your question...) – Nate Eldredge May 7 at 16:52
  • .... in what? Are you talking about reviewing articles? – Azor Ahai May 7 at 16:59
  • 2
    Are you commenting on drafts of papers not yet published? In that case, pointing out typos is helpful. On the other hand, if you are commenting on things already published, then there is nothing the author can do about it (books excepted since they may have second editions) and so there is no point in pointing out typos. – Wolfgang Bangerth May 7 at 17:10
  • 1
    I would be happy if a referee pointed out such errors in a manuscript of mine, so I usually do it. It shouldn't influence the referee's verdict, but if a manuscript arrives at that stage it's possible the authors and editors will not notice anymore, and it will go into production with the errors intact if no one says something. – Julius May 8 at 17:16

Orthography and typographical correctness are much less important than scientific (methodological and theoretical) rigour. Yet all scientific publications should of course also be well-written, and in general there's nothing wrong with casually pointing out a typo, wrong glyph, or similar glitch.

However, if you're writing a review, grade a student paper or discuss a presentation, this better not be your only comment!


If you put divide by A instead of divide by B then there can be serious consequences...

But any non-serious typo is ignored by most of us (a been there, done that myself approach), with a wry smile...

But if a document contains many typos then it does get noticed...

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.