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Recently I got a cite in a research paper where the author cited my work as [first name] et al, where it should have been [last name] et al. Is there any problem for indexing purpose? should I contact the journal editor about this incident and ask for correction?

  • How is the paper referred to in the bibliography? If it is wrong there, you should contact the editor as most indexing services won't pick it up. You should also avoid publishing in that journal as the referees don't seem to verify the references. – Pedro May 7 '12 at 14:44
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Yes, that's a problem, and you will absolutely want to fix it. The problem is that it's actually a two-stage problem to correct:

  • First, you will need to contact the journal to fix the citation.
  • Then, after the citation has been corrected in the article, you'll need to submit a correction request to the various citation trackers (such as ISI and Scopus). They will need to fix your citation in their database, if the article has already been entered.

Note: It may or may not be possible to correct the journal—the editors may or may not be willing to issue a correction to fix a reference. However, it may be possible to correct the reference with the citation indices, even if it's not correct in the journal. However, the road will be tougher; you'll need to show that the paper that should be cited is indisputably yours.

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    Can you do that? Maybe this is field dependent, but I've never heard of anyone correcting a error like this in a citation in a math paper that has already been published. (My feeling is that you cannot change a published paper at all without issuing a formal correction or retraction, and while an error of this sort would be unfortunate, it wouldn't be sufficiently serious to justify publishing a correction, since the bibliography would still unambiguously identify the paper being cited.) But maybe it happens in mathematics and I'm just not aware of it. – Anonymous Mathematician May 7 '12 at 16:04
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    It is possible to correct a citation in the citation indices; it may or may not be possible to edit the paper, as you've cited. However, if there's a clear clerical error, it was incumbent on the journal to catch and correct it before publication occurred. I can attest that it is possible to correct citations in the online indices, because I've done it myself. – aeismail May 7 '12 at 16:36
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    I did something similar when a paper cited a preprint of mine. I contacted MathSciNet and told them where the paper had appeared and asked them to update their reference. I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and painless the process was. – Dan C Jul 6 '12 at 14:48
  • That reminds me--a well-known Handbook incorrectly cites a paper of mine and misspells my name. I had not thought of requesting a correction in the online indices. – Anon Mar 20 '13 at 15:15
  • Mmh if it's just the in-text citation that is wrong but the entry in the reference section, and more importantly in the article metat data, is correct then it's just a minor annoyance. – Cape Code Oct 17 '18 at 12:00
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In addition to the earlier answer, you may also want to email the authors of the paper and inform them of their error, providing the correct bibliographic information, to prevent the problem in the future.

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