Errors can occur in published journal articles. Some errors require the publisher to not only correct the article but also issue a correction notice: a formal, public announcement of the correction that alerts readers to the changes to the published work. A correction may also be called an erratum (plural: errata) or a corrigendum (plural: corrigenda). The guidance on this page applies to corrections published with any of these names.
Errors requiring a correction notice
Minor typographical errors (e.g., spelling and grammar mistakes) can be corrected in the digital version of an article but do not usually require a correction notice. However, more substantive errors do need formal, public correction. These include rearranging the order of authorship, adding information to the author note, replacing an entry in the reference list, and altering data or results. Additional examples of changes needing a correction notice are shown in the sample correction notices on this page.
Process of correcting a published article
If you detect an error in your published article (including an online first article), the first step is to inform the editor and publisher of the journal of the error. The editor and publisher will determine whether a formal correction notice is needed. The formal correction notice would serve to correct the knowledge base for current and future users of the information in the published article.
If a correction notice is needed, you are responsible for writing it. In your communication with the journal editor, submit a proposed correction notice that outlines what the error was, what the correct information is, and whether some or all versions of the original article have been corrected. The correction notice should contain the following elements:
- the article title
- the names of all authors, exactly as they appear in the published article
- the full journal name
- the year, volume number, issue number, page numbers, and DOI of the article being corrected
- the precise location of the error (e.g., page number, column, line, table, figure, appendix)
- an exact quotation of the error or, in the case of lengthy errors or an error in a table or figure, an accurate paraphrasing of the error
- a concise, clear wording of the correction, or in the case of an error in a table or figure, a replacement version of the table or figure
Once approved, the correction notice is created in the journal’s official template using the information provided by the author. This correction notice is usually published with a DOI both in print and online. The correction notice is also appended to the article’s record in research databases so that readers will retrieve it when they access the article or the database record for the article. Oftentimes, a corrected version of the article is also posted online and noted as being corrected on the first page.
Citing a corrected article
If you are citing an article that has been corrected, it is not necessary to note that the article has been corrected in the in-text citation or reference list entry. Simply write a standard reference list entry for the work, and ensure you do not reproduce any errors from the original. Readers will be informed of the correction when they retrieve the cited work.
Sample correction notices
The following are examples of correction notices published in APA journals. Use these as examples when writing your own correction notice to send to a journal. Note, however, that different journals may have different policies for addressing errors, corrections, and retractions to published articles, so always consult the editor of the journal in which your published article appeared.
Credits for sample correction notices
From "Where Are You From? A Validation of the Foreigner Objectification Scale and the Psychological Correlates of Foreigner Objectification among Asian Americans and Latinos: Correction to Armenta et al. (2013),” 2015, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 21(2), p. 267 (https://doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000050). Copyright 2015 by the American Psychological Association.
From “Parsing the Heterogeneity of Psychopathy and Aggression: Differential Associations Across Dimensions and Gender: Correction to Hecht et al. (2016),” 2017, Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 8(1), p. 13 (https://doi.org/10.1037/per0000225). Copyright 2017 by the American Psychological Association.
From “The Longitudinal Links of Personality Traits, Values, and Well-Being and Self-Esteem: A Five-Wave Study of a Nationally Representative Sample: Correction to Fetvadjiev and He (2018),” 2019, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(2), p. 337 (https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000246). Copyright 2019 by the American Psychological Association.