Someone referenced my work in a journal paper but they did not cite it the right way.

They only included my first name, my supervisor's first name, the name of the paper and the date. They did not include our last names or the journal that the paper was published in. Do I contact the authors or the journal to correct this? Or can it not be fixed?

Currently, the citation is not included in my Google Scholar page because they didn't write my last name nor my supervisor's last name.

  • 9
    No complete name... No date... Even no title... How have you found that's your paper?!... by DOI?!
    – user41207
    Apr 4, 2016 at 13:44
  • 14
    The weird thing is how the corresponding journal has published that paper with such incomplete reference!
    – user41207
    Apr 4, 2016 at 13:53
  • 4
    @Roboticist That was my first thought too. My second thought was that a citation in a journal with such low editorial standards probably isn't worth much anyway.
    – Pont
    Apr 4, 2016 at 15:39
  • 10
    @Roboticist: Not sure how weird this really is. Keeping first names, last names, middle names, halves of last names etc. apart is not easy since every country seems to have their own conventions. Some Romanians write their last name first. Chinese appear to do the same. Spaniards occasionally have huge tree-like surnames, only some parts of which are normally used. I've seen at least one Frenchman abbreviating half of his surname by an initial. And that's just from my personal experience. (I think there is a detailed explanation of Spanish names somewhere on academia.se.) Apr 4, 2016 at 16:27
  • 6
    @Roboticist: Not weird at all IMHO. In some fields, publishers expect to get the camera-ready version down to the pixel from authors and will not do any editing or proofreading. I have never received any suggestions on spelling or other such textual issues by any publisher, only (and rarely so) requests to adapt large-scale things like paragraph formatting to the official guidelines. The described issue sounds conspicuously like a misinterpretation of Bibtex's syntax. Apr 4, 2016 at 16:31

4 Answers 4


I would recommend approaching this problem through the following layers of triage:

  • First, is it a serious journal, or a predatory trash publication? If it's not a serious journal, just ignore it and move on. It won't really count as a citation anyway, and there's basically nothing you can do to get a meaningful response from the people running it.

  • Second, if it's a real journal, is it in the final form or a "just accepted" pre-print? Some journals give early access to "just accepted" manuscripts before any copyediting occurs, typically with a big warning label saying "Not yet final, things may change." If this is the case, then you may be able to count on the production staff catching the problem and getting it fixed before the final form; if you don't want to count on the error being caught, it is reasonable to (politely) contact the authors.

  • If neither of these is true, and the paper is in its final form in a real journal you can write to the editorial staff to request a correction.

  • 11
    "count on the production staff catching the problem and getting it fixed" I am skeptical. Apr 5, 2016 at 0:34
  • 1
    In the second case, it won't be caught. By the time it's put up online, it's usually at the stage where it's already gone through copy editing even if it's still not "final".
    – Joel
    Apr 5, 2016 at 1:10
  • @Joel AnonymousPhysicist This contradicts my experience with "just accepted"---in the journals where I have experienced this, the version that goes online is literally the one accepted, just as soon as the editor moves it to accepted status. You are likely thinking of "early access" or "online first." which are after copy-editing.
    – jakebeal
    Apr 5, 2016 at 1:13
  • 1
    Strongly agree with the claim it won't get caught in copy-editing. Just had an article where based on DOI, the copy editors at T&F switched correct citations to first names for Chinese authors.
    – virmaior
    Apr 5, 2016 at 3:21
  • 1
    "count on the production staff catching the problem" doesn't seem like a great strategy anyway - you'd lose nothing by sending off a quick email to draw their attention to it.
    – N. Virgo
    Apr 5, 2016 at 6:07

In addition to the issues with Google Scholar, your article may not be properly cited in other databases, such as ISI Knowledge (Thomson) or Scopus (Elsevier). You may want to contact the publishers of those indices as well; both of them should have a form that allows you to correct misattributions such as this. (Note that this process can take some time: it can often be 6-8 weeks before the article makes it into print, and usually you're not notified when the changes are made.)


I would contact the author first. It would give you a chance to discuss their article and yours, as well as give them the opportunity to do the right thing. If that doesn't work then I would consider contacting the publisher.


I suggest,check for the format of the published Journal or other papers in that Journal. If format of the paper is as such only FIRST authors and no JOURNAL name, nothing much can be done.

Manually, you can add this paper to your GOOGLE SCHOLAR profile, under the PROFILE NAME click on "Add" button and "Add article manually" on left side. Hope, this helps you. enter image description here enter image description here

  • 3
    He wants to add a citation, not an article. Apr 5, 2016 at 0:34
  • When you add an article, it is readily available to CITE.
    – sri
    Apr 5, 2016 at 16:42

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