I finished my PhD in early 2018. I immediately sumbitted an hard copy at the dept. library and a pdf copy on the online database (open-access), a few weeks later as per Univeristy rules.

  1. at the time I found some mistakes - probably due to the stress of the moment- (typos/syntax etc.) and some quotations (directI/indirect) either not cited correctly, or not cited, but bewteen quotation marks and so on. So, being as honest as I could, I prepared an erratum to be added to the harcover and another one to be uploaded with the pdf online.

And I was satisfied and happy.

2)After 4 years I had to read again my old thesis to do some future publication.

And there I found other - well 4 to be exact - words and/or senteces missing quotation or quotation marks without the ref. I guess I was more stressed, exausthed and distracted than I Thought.

I had my manuscript checked on a plagarism scan and the outcome is between 3-4 %, that counts most of the correct citations (i.e. indented paragraphs and/or italic), and some common used wording; so the percetuange it is surely lower.

However, thanks to that tool I found this 4 missing quotations.

These issues are normally right after a directly or indirectly quoted paragraph of author X,Y,Z.

So, after many years I can guess I was rearranging parts and some got lost. I guess we may consider it "plagiarism in good faith"or simply unintentional. I know, it is still palgiarism.

Ah! "the mistakes of youth".

So, I really do not know what I can do now.

Sending another Erratum could be suspiscious or creating Drama in an University I wouldn't go back to not even under torture (ahha!). Right?

Do I have other options?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.


2 Answers 2


To cite E. of Arendelle [2013]:

Let it go!

This is the best advice you can get. There's not really anything you can or should do. It is a PhD thesis, not a published article. It is not published, except at the university which means that probably nobody looks at it. You've already added some corrections, which is probably more than most would.

  • 2
    Also after a bunch of more years it will probably not bother as much anymore. It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small. Nov 27, 2021 at 18:27
  • 2
    Personally I find that, after some time, the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.
    – Dawn
    Nov 27, 2021 at 18:49
  • 1
    I love that this answer has a proper citation in it! Nov 27, 2021 at 23:11
  • 1
    Aaha! Jeroen, I will for sure :) thanks
    – lika
    Nov 28, 2021 at 0:43
  • @Dawn, I hope I will get there too soon. I am about to start my first position as an assistant professor, so I guess this is one of the reasons for my "impostor syndrome".
    – lika
    Nov 28, 2021 at 0:47

I will go against the feel-good answers you will receive.

Burn your diploma and go to your local religious structure and start working there for free, because, you know, people in their life commits mistakes, but saints and the like never ever commits any mistakes, or when they do, they find some perpetual punishment.

Ok, jokes aside, is not the hard learned lesson “I was way more stressed than I thought” enough? You did those mistakes because you were most likely on the edge of burnout, not because you were foolishly tired , and you were ready to cut some (very small) corners to get to your goal.

Think about it.

  • I would advise burning the thesis instead of the diplom, has more of a cleansing effect ;) Nicely written answer. Nov 27, 2021 at 12:39
  • Thank you Erik and Severin! aha! I would burn the Thesis too!
    – lika
    Nov 27, 2021 at 13:53

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