When checking the 'References' section of my manuscript, I noticed that the last name of one of the authors of one paper has a typo. Searching for the source of the typo led me to the paper's page on the journal's website which has the very same typo. From there it propagated through 'Export Citation' to my bibliography. In the PDF, the last name is spelled correctly.

My question is, should I keep the citation as it is (with the typo), or should I correct the typo?

If that matters, this is the paper in question. The typo is in the last author's name.

  • 4
    That’s a tough one. Have you tried contacting the author to let them know so they can ask the journal to correct the typo?
    – user126108
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 13:22
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    It's better to use the correct name, or at least be consistent. For example, you might have to cite multiple papers involving the same author, and you should use the same name in all of them in the bibliography. In your case the last name as in the PDF should be used, note that the article is from 1990 and predates the online version. This is an error on the journal's website. Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 13:36
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    Split the difference, and combine elements from both spellings to make a third one. ;-)
    – Mentalist
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 6:49
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    @Mentalist, there are citing papers that do not list the misspelled last name among the authors at all :)
    – And R
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 9:21
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    I would add a parenthetical note to the citation if the mis-spelling is confusing enough. "(This author's name is mis-spelled as "..." on-line at www.wherever.com)". Also let the author know so they can get the website corrected.
    – nigel222
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 9:34

3 Answers 3


You should use the actual name which appears correctly in the paper. You should also contact the journal so that they can correct this so that people searching for the paper will be able to find it more easily.

That the name is rendered incorrectly on the website of the journal is irrelevant. Perpetuating the mistake that was made during the (presumably automated) process of extracting author information to an electronic database will only add to the confusion. If you wish, you can add an explanatory note to the reference saying something to the effect of "misspelled as 'Buek' in the journal's online catalogue".

  • 15
    Since nobody has said so: The official version of a a paper used to be the print version. Nowadays, it is the PDF version. The HTML version hosted on the publisher's website is not the official version.
    – user9482
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 9:17
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    I'm not an expert but it seems to me another reason to use the correct name is in the hopes that the journal will correct the web site and then all citations that use the correct name will continue to be correct and helpful, whereas any citations that used the incorrect name could become confusing and require fixing after the fact. Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 17:28

I should be able to find the paper with the information in your citation. Your citation should also be factually correct.

Check whether you can find the paper without problems using the correct name. If you can't and need the misspelled name to find the paper, I would add ("John Smith, misspelled as John Smythe") or similar in the citation.

In case of a Russian author with multiple different transliterations, you might mention and explain this as well.

  • 2
    Well, the article can be referenced via journal-volume-page data which can be followed unambiguously. Thus, misspelling one author's surname makes little difference (practically). I've never seen similar explanations in bibliographies in physics, so I wanted to choose one spelling.
    – And R
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 14:51

Are you sure you have it right. It seems to be consistently Buek online over several papers. The name seems to be an Anglicization of V. Bužek, a Slovak name, to avoid the diacritical.

If this is correct you could leave it as is, or list the name as either Bužek(Buek) or Buek(Bužek), to make it clear.

An online search on "V. Buek, physics" suggests the source of confusion.

I haven't done a deep dive, so it is possible that there are two people here, but the subfield, at least seems to point to one person.

  • 9
    Oh, yes, absolutely, this is a rather big name in quantum optics. Here's his scholar page scholar.google.com/citations?user=m2hSZWQAAAAJ&hl=en. The error is likely from the journal's inability to deal with Unicode properly.
    – And R
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 14:38
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    This is not Anglicization of the name Bužek any more than "Gdel" is an Anglicization of Gödel or "Lvy" an Anglicization of Lévy. Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 20:24
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    All eight papers listed with "V. Buek" on APS' website have "Bužek" in the PDFs. It seems clear that this is just an error on the website.
    – Anyon
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 0:24
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    What are examples of actual Anglicization that removes a whole letter?
    – justhalf
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 2:52
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    @arne: this would be probably only in the case someone wants to actually change their legal name. I doubt that someone called Szczesik would willingly "anglicize" their name to scesik. I rather assume that "anglicize" means "get rid of the diacritics" (Frédéric → Frederic, çàùrtlé → caurtle, ...)
    – WoJ
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 10:15

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