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My paper was accepted at a good conference after 3 reviewers cleared it. After proof reading for the publishing, I sent it to the editor with approval. However, now I have realised that there are 2 mistakes in the paper: 1. One of the equations dependent on time is using t instead of t+1 2. One of the equations is using best instead of best_i.

The editor has told me that the paper has been sent already for printing, and nothing can be done anymore. Can someone suggest what might be the best course of action now?

  • Are these errors any competent reader will know how to correct for themselves? If yes, then I would say you don't need to worry about it, because papers have these kinds of typos all the time. It's the errors that readers wouldn't know how to fix that are problematic. – Alexander Woo Jun 23 '17 at 7:22
  • These two equations were picked up from a paper (after referencing), so if the reader follows the reference given, he would be able to correct the mistake by himself. Mistake1 may not be detected otherwise, however Mistake2 is fairly obvious. – Divya Varshney Jun 23 '17 at 7:42
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    Some academics have a web site (for example, provided by their university) where they list errata for all their publications. – GEdgar Jun 23 '17 at 12:00
  • Okay, I'll do that too, apart from notifying the editor about the error. – Divya Varshney Jun 23 '17 at 13:11
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    These are not mathematical errors, these are simply innocuous typos in the formulas. Published papers are full of them. A "mathematical error" to me means "the proof of Theorem 1 does not work because you wrongly assumed $\xi$ to be positive", or even "Theorem 1 is false; here's a counterexample. It can't be salvaged even if one adds a technical assumption." – Federico Poloni Jul 23 '17 at 9:38
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As you wrote yourself:

The editor has told me that the paper has been sent already for printing, and nothing can be done anymore.

Given that the editor decides how a publication runs, there is nothing you can do. "Normal" journals usually publish errata but conference papers often do not have that possibility.

Don't worry about it too much: everybody makes mistakes/typos and it is not a big problem. The intelligent reader will spot the mistakes and not mind too much because he gets the point anyway, the other readers will not spot the mistake so they won't care either.

Just make sure you learn from this: next time double check everything and ask a meticulous, friendly colleague to do the same.

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What you need to do is to request for a Corrigendum (some journals use erratum to denote Author originated mistakes).

A corrigendum refers to a change to their article that the author wishes to publish at any time after acceptance. (from Elsevier)

The Conference proceedings journal will have a page left empty for errata and corrigendum.

  • The journal is actually printed once a year. So if the errata is printed in the next journal, would it still be fine? – Divya Varshney Jun 23 '17 at 7:01
  • Please correct me if there is some other way the errata is published. I assume that it must be published with the next journal. Moreover, @JaganMohan, can you please tell me how the errata would be presented for the original version of the paper? – Divya Varshney Jun 23 '17 at 7:55
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    If it is published in the next issue (even yearly), it would be fine. Also, sometimes, before the next annual issue, the publishers might choose to publish the erratum on their website along with the online paper if possible. Hope this helps. – Jagan Mohan Jun 27 '17 at 13:40
  • @JaganMohan I have to disagree. Almost every published paper has such small typos. If for each typo, we need an erratum, journals will stop publishing articles and publish instead erratums for previous papers. – Younes Jul 23 '17 at 10:07
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    @John Typos are OK, but errors in Mathematical Formulae are a different beast altogether. Most Mathematical, Physics, et journals take their formulate very very seriously and would have low threshold for unacknowledged errors even withdrawing papers on notice. It is up to the Author to request for clarification and up to the Editor to decide if the mistake warrants a change. For Stack Exchange, the advice should be to allow for the best possible output. Imagine if my advice was for: Just ignore it, nothing can be done and in fact, the journal takes mathematical mistakes seriously? – Jagan Mohan Jul 31 '17 at 8:04

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