I published a journal paper about one year ago. I used content from other people's work with correct citation, but I described it with the wrong organization name. For example:

Sam, from NYU, reported good performance of this prediction method in 20XX. (Sam, 20XX).

Although the citation in the parentheses is correct, Sam is actually from another school.

The journal says I can submit a corrigendum if the mistake is serious, but can this one be considered as "serious"?

Any comments would be appreciated.

  • 11
    The meta-question would be why did you add the superfluous 'from NYU' to the sentence? It adds nothing to the sentence.
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 15 '21 at 14:33
  • 28
    Could Sam be persuaded to move to NYU? Nov 15 '21 at 15:41
  • 1
    @AndreasBlass - while that does solve the problem, it does seem a bit extreme of a measure!
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 15 '21 at 17:33
  • 4
    If Sam moves institutions, then the sentence even if corrected would not hold, either.
    – Allure
    Nov 16 '21 at 2:49

First of all, a decision on whether a corrigendum is issued is up to the publisher, who usually acts according to the recommendations of the journal editor.

Consider Elsevier's "Policy and Best Practices: errata and corrigendum" (emphasis is mine):

A corrigendum refers to a change to their article that the author wishes to publish at any time after acceptance. Authors should contact the editor of the journal, who will determine the impact of the change and decide on the appropriate course of action. Elsevier will only instigate a corrigendum to a published article after receiving approval and instructions from the editor.

A more detailed process is described for JMIR publications, where they describe potential outcomes:


Requests like "I forgot to acknowledge somebody" or "there is an error in one of the authors' names" are what we call a "Discretionary Correction", as it is an oversight that is the authors' responsibility but not severe enough to affect the validity of the paper. We can correct it, but reserve the right to charge a fee of $190 for publishing the corrigendum, correcting the original article and linking it to the corrigendum, and resubmitting the article to various databases and/or making changes to the PubMed record.


We do not think the error you have mentioned is a problem and requires any action/correction.


The error is a minor layout change and can be made without publishing a corrigendum.

So, for JMIR, the type of error can lead to different results: publication of corrigendum (with fees paid by the publisher or by paper authors), rejection of the corrigendum inquiry, or in-place edit of the publication without formally publishing a corrigendum.

Therefore, the process is definitely field-, journal- and, probably, even editor-dependent.

In your case, the error in the in-text citation is very unlikely to be considered severe, especially, since the citation in parenthesis is correct.

  • 1
    Thank you Anton! I think I will submit a corrigendum and see what the editor says. I appreciate your timely and detailed response.
    – Młynar
    Nov 15 '21 at 13:47

If the person is easy to find, say with an uncommon name, then it probably isn't serious. But you can submit the correction and the editor will decide what to do with it.

The purpose of the citation, other than plagiarism, is to let readers see the context of your work more completely. The name of the institution is probably less important than the rest of it.

An exception might be if the actual institution is a world-wide center for research in your topic. Then it would, perhaps be an important part of the context.

  • Thank you Buffy! I think the person is quite unique and the organization doesn't impact my content, but I will submit a corrigendum just to try my best to make things perfect.
    – Młynar
    Nov 15 '21 at 13:49

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