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Table 1 Possible outcomes and problems of reporting inaccurate citations using current methods

From: MyCites: a proposal to mark and report inaccurate citations in scholarly publications

Method Possible outcomes Problems
1. Contacting the editor • Publication of a corrigendum
• No correction, editor contacting authors with a note to be more careful in the future
• Being ignored
• Burdensome for the reporter and the editoral team
• Impractical to do for every single inaccuracy
2. Submission of a commentary/letter • Acceptance of commentary/letter and publication of a corrigendum
• Acceptance of commentary/letter and publication of a response commentary/letter by the citing authors in reaction to the first letter with/without the publication of a corrigendum
• Acceptance of commentary/letter without any further response from the citing authors, or reaction from the editors
• Rejection of the commentary/letter
• Burdensome for the reporter and the editorial team
• Impractical to do for every single inaccuracy
3. Email corresponding authors • Submission of a corrigendum by authors and having the inaccuracy corrected
• Submission of a corrigendum and having it rejected by the editors
• Being ignored
• The reporter may remain out of the communication loop
• The inaccuracy may never be reported to the journal
4. Post on social media • Submission of a corrigendum by authors and having it corrected
• Submission of a corrigendum and having it rejected by the editors
• Being ignored
• Having the comment deleted
• Complicated to distinguish genuine report from trolls
• Comments can be deleted by account owners
• Scientists who are not on social media will not be aware of it
• Exposure to non-experts
5. Use PubPeer • Editors of the journals with a paid subscription will get a notification. They may react with/without a corrigendum, or ignore the report
• Citing authors act on the reported inaccuracy and submit a corrigendum which may be accepted or rejected
• Citing authors ignore the report
• Other researchers including the citing/cited authors may make further comments or ignore it altogether
• Prose comments do not appear in the text
• Comments are not linked to citations
• Cited authors are not notified
• Not fully open and free for all users
• Possible to make anonymous comments
6. Current annotation platforms • Editors of the journals who wish to be informed will get a notification. They may react with/without a corrigendum, or ignore the report
• Citing authors act on the reported inaccuracy and submit a corrigendum which may be accepted or rejected
• Citing authors ignore the report
• Other researchers including the citing/cited authors may make further comments or ignore it altogether
• Comments are not visible across platforms
• Comments are not linked to citations
• Cited authors are not notified
• Not possible to create an index of inaccurate citations