How to publish if a mistake is found in a paper

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  • #26
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Referee disagrees in what? He AGREES that the mistake in the paper is clear.
Sure, he might agree there is a mistake in the paper. He disagrees that it is important.

I have not contacted with the authors, because I wish to have a published rebuttal.
I'm sorry, but I feel this is a very selfish attitude. You might get a paper out of it, sure. But science is built on cooperation and free discussions. Science isn't supposed to be a race like this.
 
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  • #27
Student100
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Why don't you just link the paper here?
 
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  • #28
Hepth
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The moment he does I'm going to write my own paper real fast and submit it, stealing his idea and getting all that delicious credit... ;)
 
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  • #29
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The moment he does I'm going to write my own paper real fast and submit it, stealing his idea and getting all that delicious credit... ;)
The editor probably stole his idea already and will be publishing a rebuttal in the next edition.
 
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  • #30
Hepth
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The editor probably stole his idea already and will be publishing a rebuttal in the next edition.
Its really the only way to make a name for yourself in physics now.
 
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Sure, he might agree there is a mistake in the paper. He disagrees that it is important.



I'm sorry, but I feel this is a very selfish attitude. You might get a paper out of it, sure. But science is built on cooperation and free discussions. Science isn't supposed to be a race like this.
He agrees that the mistake is so important, that the paper lost all meaning. But he claims that this paper is not important. I claim, if it is published, it also needs rebuttal, if it is wrong.

I need publication that I will have a reference for future publications. I agree, this publication as a single is not important.

About Science, I have different experiences, very negative. also the endorsment sistem in arXiv is very unfair. OK, I found also very fine scientist, also all of you who gave me answers in Physics forums, and the main part of my professors. But I have also some very arrogant, and bad experiences. Scientist are people as all others.
 
  • #32
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also the endorsment sistem in arXiv is very unfair.
I don't get this. People always act like "publishing" on arXiv means something. It doesn't mean a thing. It's a pre-print server meant as a way of scientists to communicate further with the field. The endorsement system on arXiv works perfectly since every scientist who is only remotely connected to academia, gets to publish on arXiv. If you can't get an endorsement on arXiv, then nobody would read your paper anyway, so it doesn't mean a thing!! What matters in science is actual published papers. ArXiv means nothing.

But I have also some very arrogant, and bad experiences. Scientist are people as all others.
Yes, there are arrogant and bad scientists. But I feel that, as a scientist, we should try to be above those bad elements.
 
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  • #33
Hepth
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Does the correction have any other scientific implications that could be written about? More than just "you were wrong"; maybe "because of this error, it can be shown that EQ 4. implies that an additional source of strain on the detector comes from gravitational waves as the proton-antiproton system collapses in on itself during collision.."
 
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  • #34
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Does the correction have any other scientific implications that could be written about? More than just "you were wrong"; maybe "because of this error, it can be shown that EQ 4. implies that an additional source of strain on the detector comes from gravitational waves as the proton-antiproton system collapses in on itself during collision.."
Right, try to do some further research and write a paper that IS correct.
 
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  • #35
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also the endorsment sistem in arXiv is very unfair
Here is what the policy is.

A typical endorser would be asked to endorse about one person a year. The endorsement process is not peer review. You should know the person that you endorse or you should see the paper that the person intends to submit. We don't expect you to read the paper in detail, or verify that the work is correct, but you should check that the paper is appropriate for the subject area. You should not endorse the author if the author is unfamiliar with the basic facts of the field, or if the work is entirely disconnected with current work in the area.
What is unfair about that?

The bar is set very low. If your contribution doesn't meet even this level of understanding, I can see where it might be unfortunate, but not why it is necessarily unfair.
 
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Here is what the policy is.



What is unfair about that?

The bar is set very low. If your contribution doesn't meet even this level of understanding, I can see where it might be unfortunate, but not why it is necessarily unfair.
Some endorsers even do not answer, some are afraid that they will lost endorsment. They have only negative motivation, not positive. I expect also arguments and excange of arguments. This does not exist.
 
  • #37
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Some endorsers even do not answer,
Right. It's not their job to do this. You know what endorsement is for? It's when a professor has a very new student that wishes to publish but can't since he's new. In that case, he will endorse the student so his paper can appear on arXiv. The endorsement system is not built so random strangers get to email professors begging for endorsements.

some are afraid that they will lost endorsment.
Maybe that is a sign about the quality of the paper??
 
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Some endorsers even do not answer, some are afraid that they will lost endorsment. They have only negative motivation, not positive. I expect also arguments and exchange of arguments. This does not exist.
I kind of understand your frustration. Especially since some voices on this forum argued that there was a sensible alternative to contacting the authors of the paper with the alleged error. But you have to admit that being annoyed about people's "negative motivations" because they don't want to engage in a discussion with you has a lot of irony to it.
 
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  • #39
Choppy
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What do you think by "inconsenquential" (unimportant)? The article is completely wrong because of this error.
Obviously it's hard to say without seeing the actual paper, but it's entirely possible that the paper was seen as important enough to publish fifteen years ago (or whenever it originally came out), but now the field may have moved on. An open question back then could very well have a known solution now that's been validated by multiple independent groups. In such a case, an editor may not see any value in publishing an erratum.
 
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Presumably. At least I have never seen an acknowledgement section saying "we want to thank Prof. Nogoodatall for long and insightful discussions about the topic, the NSF for funding and exponent137 for pointing out a typo".
 
  • #42
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This means, if I will warn the authors about the mistake (what I was talking about in this topic), and they will write errata, I will not be mentioned.
Will they even write errata?
 
  • #43
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I don't know. My primary point was that for something like pointing out a typo or wrong choice of words I wouldn't know where to put a "thanks for XYZ to point that out". So to the exact question you asked my answer has been "probably yes". On the level where you bother to publish an erratum because the result of the paper has changed significantly this may be different. I would probably mention why I published the erratum since that sounds like making sense. But it is unlikely that we talk about a paper of mine - and even more unlikely that I would bother with an erratum. So I am not sure if knowing what I would do really helps you. I am not even sure how knowing what the authors would do will help you.
 
  • #44
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Is it normal, that those, who warn for a lapse, are not mentioned?
I really really fail to see what you would get out of such a mention.
 
  • #45
mathwonk
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Two possibilities:

1) write the authors of the error and see what they say.

If they do not react satisfactorily, i.e. if they do not retract the results in print, or if you do not wish to do this, then:

2) write a paper with a correct result, and at the end say this contradicts the results of the earlier paper.

I have seen such papers in math. E.g. In Lang's Algebra, 1st edition, chapter XI.3, he stated a theorem (thm. 7? p.281) generalizing a result of Artin, but later in a research article I think by James Cannon, in perhaps the Am. J. of Math, there appeared a paper with a theorem which contradicted Lang's "theorem". In the 2nd edition of Lang's book, section XI.3, p.402, thm 7 no longer appears.

I wrote about this mistake long ago here:

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/criminal-offences-in-maths-textbooks.176436/
 
  • #46
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This means, if I will warn the authors about the mistake (what I was talking about in this topic), and they will write errata, I will not be mentioned.
Will they even write errata?
Since the paper is 15 years old and only cited once, I doubt they will write a correction. But is this all you are after here - recognition that you found an error? Congratulations! Is that good enough for you to stop wasting your time trying to get famous for finding an error in an obsolete and unimportant paper?
 
  • #47
Hepth
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To be fair, the second one he posted was cited by FOUR other papers...

But still, I would NEVER expect a mention for a simple correction. If you are asked to review it before publishing and then find it and it makes a huge difference, sure, because that's "useful" discussion. But 15 years later? No, that's just finding typos.

On that note, I do have ONE errata for a paper of mine where a student from Greece pointed out that I missed a factor of "2" when making a table. The change was not so important, but I mentioned his name explicitly in the errata. I really only did this because I knew it would make him happy, and I'm a nice person. Most people when confronted with errors in their works 6 months after publishing are not usually in such a nice mood.
 
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  • #48
atyy
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Presumably. At least I have never seen an acknowledgement section saying "we want to thank Prof. Nogoodatall for long and insightful discussions about the topic, the NSF for funding and exponent137 for pointing out a typo".
vanhees71 posted http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0205014 in another thread. Footnote 6 "I would like to thank M. Beuthe for finding misprints in Eqs. (2.68) and (2.69) in the first version of the paper appeared in the electronic archive hep-ph."
 
  • #49
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After all this story, how to publish the rebuttal?
The succesor of the original journal refutted it, because the mistake is too simple.
 
  • #50
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After all this story, how to publish the rebuttal?
The succesor of the original journal refutted it, because the mistake is too simple.
What other answer do you want than the ones you already got? It's not worth a publication.

And really, you haven't moved on from this at all???
 

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