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It's a very simple typo (a misspelling of the word "frequently", one letter off), but it still bothers me that it made it into the final version. Not sure if the copy writer introduced the error later. There's also a missing close quote somewhere in the manuscript. Do minor typos like this affect citation count or credibility, or are they relatively ubiquitous? I'm also a bit angry that the journal staff couldn't help me catch them (since I'm a single author working alone and paid a hefty publication fee). Is it worth trying to change (or even possible to change)? What's your experience/advice with this?

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    I've seen dozens, maybe hundreds of typos in published papers. I don't think it matters at all. I've even seen well-cited papers where the main result has a typo in it that changes its meaning!
    – knzhou
    Apr 2 at 0:23
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    Most publications of any non-trivial length contain at least one typo, probably more. Literally no-one is going to think "gee, this person wrote fequently instead of frequently, better not cite this paper or give it much credence". It is not the publishing staff's job to catch your typos, so being angry at them makes no sense. Apr 2 at 0:40
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    @AdamPřenosil Actually most reputable journals employ copy editors, and catching your typos is explicitly part of their job. Unfortunately, many commercial publishers (even those of top journals) now outsource this work to very low-wage and low-quality providers. Apr 2 at 1:34
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    This is an April Fools right?
    – Tom
    Apr 2 at 20:16
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    Don"t worry, these things have freqwently. Apr 3 at 0:26

5 Answers 5

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Do minor typos like this affect citation count or credibility, or are they relatively ubiquitous?

They do not. At all.

Many, many authors are absolutely terrible at writing, with tons of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. This is not, by the way, exclusively (or even mostly) an issue when the authors speak/write English as a second language - people who speak/write English as their first (and sometimes only) language frequently overestimate their own writing ability and don't proofread as well as they should (or at all). Also, plenty of researchers are just plain terrible at writing, regardless of what language they're doing it in. Lots of terribly-written-to-the-point-they-are-difficult-to-understand papers that don't have any sort of evidence of proofreading or copy-editing still have citation counts in the dozens. So long as people can understand the paper and think the results are important, it will be cited.

Very, very few people will even notice, let alone care, let alone hold it against you, that you have a few minor typos. I know it's frustrating to look back at your work and see the imperfections, but this is the kind of thing you should let go.

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In a print journal it won't be changed or even addressed, I think. It is too much work for too little benefit. Similar if not identical for an online publication. An editing process can actually introduce other errors in some cases.

You can, of course, inform the editor, but the decision will be theirs. If you have a personal website somewhere you can keep a list of errata there for your various publications. That is more common for books, though.

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  • As you say, too much hassle too little reward. Another point to keep in mind is that even small changes like this, when made after publication, require a new doi.
    – tnknepp
    Apr 3 at 9:13
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Don't sweat the small stuff. No One (note capitalisation) is immune.

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Meet me, the person who submitted his life achievement paper to a super prestigious journal. My family was proud. My colleagues were jealous.

And then my name, John Döe, was spelled in the article in the journal as

John Derroroe

This trumps all typos in the world.

To answer your question: no, it does not matter at all, there are plenty of typos in articles - and some of them change sensibly the meaning of some information. Yours is not in that case.

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Please do not worry. No one will care.

As well known to historians of General Relativity, even Einstein made typos in his works.

Like, e.g. a lost factor of 1/2 in his celebrated work on the Mercury perihelion advance,
see arXiv:2111.11238, page 69, note 20.

Big deal...

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