My professor was the corresponding author of an article written by me as first author and one second co-author. Having the correspondence with the editor, the professor didn't give much information about the actual status of the article, allthough I asked several times for it.

Some months later, I got the notice that the article is now published. I never got a final proof of the article from the professor/ corresponding author and when I read through the published version, I was in huge shock as I noticed some formatting issues. However, the worst and most severe thing is, that one sentence was "corrected", stating the contrary of what it was supposed to mean. Obviously there is now a mistake in the article. This mistake doesn't affect the measurements results, but it is contradictful within the overall statement of the article.

I asked my professor about writing an erratum concerning this issue. The answer was, that he assumes this sentence not to be noticed and therefore, an erratum would be too much effort. I am feeling really bad being the first author of this paper, where I know about the mistake. Do you think I can ask the journal for an erratum without the consens of my professor?

Furthermore, I want to publish one more article of the work I have done, but the professor still claims the corresponding authorship. As my professor answers my emails only within months and as I don't have much trust in his actions anymore, I really don't know what to do. Does anybody have experience with such a situation?


EDIT: thank you for your answers, they are very helpful to me. The paper is a non-open access paper and already published in a printed issue of the journal. Furthermore, it is about a subject what I am not researching anymore, so there are no follow-up papers planned in the same journal.

I think my corresponding author will not be amused when I am writing the publisher as he already refused a corrigendum. You see this is a really tricky situation. What about writing a comment to the paper? I already saw remarks from third researchers concerning existing papers...maybe that could be a solution?

2 Answers 2


Many journals will still deal with the corresponding author for an erratum, and may not publish the erratum without trying to reach the corresponding author. Plus, it is not a good idea to bypass collaborators and publish errata without the knowledge of all the authors as this could lead to inaccuracies in CVs.

The "easiest" way to deal with situations like this is to include in the follow up article a statement (where appropriate) of the type "where we take the opportunity to correct a misprint in Ref.1" or something along that line.

Also, if the article has been uploaded on a preprint server (such as arXiv) where updates are allowed, you can upload an updated corrected version.


1.If your article is just published OnlineFirst (version of your paper published online with a DOI but not having a volume/issue number details) and not allocated in an issue then, instead of an erratum you can you can request the publisher to make the requested changes at the issue level. Some publishers do not make any changes to the article published OnlineFirst, but they will make the changes at the issue level, which will then replace the online version. For every article the publisher has a main point of contact (corresponding author) and the publisher directly contacts them for any kind of publication concerns. In your case, first check if your article is not published in an issue then you can go ahead requesting the changes to the publisher keeping your corresponding author in the email chain.

  1. If your paper is already published in an issue and you feel there are formatting issues (the formatting is done as per the journal style), then you can get back to the publisher requesting them if it can be fixed. If they agree, along with the request you can make the changes to the contradicting statement in your article.

  2. If the formatting is correct as per the publisher, then you may add a short statement in your upcoming paper (to be published in the same journal) stating the correction (with reference to page nos, Vol/Issue no. and section details) of your previous article and provide the DOI link of the previous article. Request the publisher to link this statement to your previous article section where there was an error.

I hope that answers your question.

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