This conference is organized on every 3 years. It is highly influential in the field of study. Screening and review committee are usually reputable that includes a strong set of researchers and professors.

The article in question is similar to my field of interest. I was happy to read it, but am very dissatisfied with discussion, analysis of data and moreover, there are several theoretical flaws in the paper.

What should I do in this case? How to submit a comment? Or, should I just ignore this?

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    The title of your question doesn't match the text. "Full of errors" means (to me) that there are false stateents in the paper. "dissatisfied with discussion, analysis of data ... several theoretical flaws" sounds considerably weaker. Are there demonstrably false statements in the paper? – Andreas Blass Jul 18 '17 at 19:30
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    Please check this: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/48224/… and quora.com/… – Younes Jul 18 '17 at 19:51
  • @AndreasBlass i dont understand what are you asking me? – SSimon Jul 19 '17 at 3:05
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    I'm asking whether the paper says things that are false (and you can prove that they're false). – Andreas Blass Jul 19 '17 at 14:34
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    Your question contained no indication that you could prove that there is an error; it didn't even explicitly say that there is an error, only that you disapprove of certain aspects of the paper. – Andreas Blass Jul 20 '17 at 4:18

When I was in graduate school my group found a major flaw in another group's work, and another group found a flaw in one of our papers. Beware that it's worth it to be sensitive about these issues- academia tends to be a small world, and you don't want to hurt people's egos or make enemies. Everyone makes mistakes, even in published and peer-reviewed papers. Bear in mind that once a peer-reviewed paper is published with a methodological flaw it becomes a failure of the entire community rather than a failure of that author.

I think the most productive way to handle this is to first contact the authors of the paper directly. If you feel as though you've found an error then you should be able to provide specific evidence or (for theoretical work) a counter-example to some proposed theorem. Approach them gently, and remember that you might be the one in error or that the error might be a simple like an unstated assumption. If the authors are responsible academics then you will have a dialogue with them that identifies the error or points out the flaw in your argument. If your claim is substantiated then it may be an opportunity to publish a joint correction or they might opt to retract their paper, depending on the severity of the problem. This is how good peer-reviewed science is supposed to work.

However, if the authors are unwilling to talk then and you feel like you need to push the issue then you'll have to escalate. Get in touch with the editor of the publication, but be sure you can substantiate your claims of an error in a way they'll understand and agree with. If they determine that you are correct then they may unilaterally retract the paper or provide the authors a chance to publish corrections. Depending on the severity and circumstances of the issue it may be appropriate for you to publish your own analysis of the topic.

Done correctly, finding a published flaw can be a great way to start a new relationship or collaboration with other people intensely interested in the same topics as you are. If you allow them to fix the problem with their published work in a way that allows them to save face they will be grateful. If you make a public debate out of the issue or go above their head to the publication editors too quickly you'll engender some bad feelings. If you make a public fuss about something and you end up being wrong then you'll look like a stupid jerk. Remember that academia is a small world and your reputation will follow you, so think about how you'll be perceived.

Above all else just remember that the purpose of the exercise is to correct the scientific record and you should be OK.

Edit: I wanted to echo John's comment to another (now deleted) post, which is that the probability that you are wrong or have misunderstood the paper is very high. Let the paper sit for a few days, and then read it again carefully. If you're still convinced there's an error then go to your adviser or a colleague and ask them to review your analysis. If everyone agrees that there is an error then it is time to humbly approach the authors.

  • thank you I agree with you. One maybe little problem is that Asians have the problem admitting fault. it is the cultural thing. the worst problem is that they dont reply on emails, I dont know if the author in question will reply, but it is possible to have a meeting and talk about it? or just to publiash in different vanue – SSimon Jul 19 '17 at 3:21
  • @SSimon All you can do is make a good faith effort to contact the authors and allow them to correct the situation. If the authors are unwilling to rectify a genuine error or cannot be reached then (if you want to push the issue) you'll have to talk to the editors. – David Jul 19 '17 at 3:37
  • In proceeding editors are same as organisers? – SSimon Jul 19 '17 at 6:41


(As per the comments by David, FredDouglis and John) It is advisable to email the authors first on the issue. If they are responding, then it is well and good. If they are satisfied with your concepts and unintentional flaws, then they would go for publishing an erratum. If they are not responding in this regard, I will do the following.

I would try to Google out the names of the Program Committee Chair or Members or Organizers and directly send a formal email regarding the same.

For example:

Dear PC Chair/Organizer/Professor

It is pleasure following the articles published in the proceedings of the reputable conference that was organized in 20xx at the University of Suggestions, Academia.SE.

However, I find a serious theoretical flaw in one of the articled entitled An article with the significant theoretical flaw in it, which I have been following currently. The complete explanation on the errors and wrong assumptions along with the possible conceptual evidence from my side have been attached for your referral.

I would request you to look after this and kindly consider the article removed or revised (a possible erratum) or re-reviewed.

Looking forward to your considerable action in this regard.


The Guy who found the error

I think one of the people would definitely respond in this regard. If they don't then directly email to the publisher of the conference proceeding.

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    I have to disagree. I don't think it is normal for people to dispute published conference papers in this fashion, asking for it to be removed. Once published, proceedings (and journals) are immutable. Errata can be added, potentially, but I think it is the author's job to post errata. Why not ask the author? After all, is it not possible that the reviewers were right and you are wrong? If you really believe you're right, I think the right thing is to publish a new paper, or a letter to some appropriate newsletter, raising your issues with the paper. – Fred Douglis Jul 18 '17 at 19:45
  • I do not find it a good solution at all. Not being satisfied with the discussion in a published paper does not mean has flaws. May be you did not understand the paper correctly, and even if you are right, it is better to contact the author and try with them several times, so that you give them a chance to make an errata if they find it necessary. The last step is to contact the editor and the journal. But first I suggest you ask other experts about the paper because the probability that you are wrong is very HIGH. – Younes Jul 18 '17 at 19:48
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    I think it's absolutely essential that you approach the other authors before you go to the organizing committee. Most authors want their work to be complete and accurate, and would gladly make corrections if given the chance. – David Jul 18 '17 at 19:48
  • @FredDouglis How to publish paper about conference paper? when this conference is on every 3 years – SSimon Jul 19 '17 at 3:08
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    @SSimon publish in a different venue, citing this paper. – Fred Douglis Jul 19 '17 at 3:12

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