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We have a scientific paper that was published at the beginning of this year in "Scientific Reports", an open-access journal by the Nature publishing group. However, upon publication, as authors we were shocked to see some of the figures (which were uploaded to the journal's website during submission) altered in an unacceptable way that changes the scientific meaning of the paper. It was clearly a "production" error during the final processing of the manuscript by the publishing team.

We have since been complaining to the journal and its Chief Editor (for several months now), but without any meaningful response from them; the Editor never bothered replying and another assistant promised to fix the errors but nothing happened.

As authors we are very frustrated to see our work being distorted online (in front of the readership) and we don't know how to complain about such negative experience and get the errors fixed. Any advice on who to complain to or who can escalate this seriously with the editor/team of this journal would be appreciated?

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    Why didn't you spot this during proofreading? – ndpl Aug 15 at 16:54
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    @ndpl The errors were not present in the proofs provided, nor in the original files we uploaded. Somehow, the errors were produced later by the journal just before publishing. – user135626 Aug 15 at 16:56
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    This journal is labelled as "a mess" by many colleagues. So the situation doesn't surprise me. I suggest you contact the Publisher instead of slippery paid editors. – Scientist Aug 15 at 17:09
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    Didn't we have this question the other day? can't seem to find it though.... – Solar Mike Aug 15 at 17:23
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    @user135626 Try "contact us" from the publisher website. For instance: support.nature.com/support/solutions/articles/… – Scientist Aug 15 at 19:51
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As authors we are very frustrated to see our work being distorted online (in front of the readership)

Release a technical report which doesn't contain these mistakes and explain in the report that the errors were made by the publishing team.

we don't know how to...get the errors fixed.

It seems you have exhausted the usual, informal routes. Perhaps you can escalate with your university's legal team, since there's surely a breach of contract which reflects badly upon the university. A strongly worded legal letter will hopefully prompt action.

  • Thanks for your answer. Regarding the suggested release of a Technical Report with the errors removed, where can I publish such a report (I don't think the same journal has such type of publications)? And will it go through peer-reviewing delay again? Also, do you think it will be enough to alert the readers to the errors in the original article? I tried actually to notify the readers through a "comment" I inserted in the comments box below the article, but not sure if this sufficient. – user135626 Aug 15 at 16:52
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    where can I publish [a technical] report arxiv (or similar), your university's technical report repository, your website, ... will it go through peer-review no will [it] be enough to alert the readers depends what you want I [added] a "comment"...in the comments box below the article I doubt many will read – user2768 Aug 15 at 18:19

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