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The Most Hilarious Proofreading Mistake in a Scientific Paper Ever

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This is an actual quote from a scientific paper, published recently — and clearly without editing. Apparently the authors didn't think much of one of the papers they were citing. And their publisher didn't bother to edit out their pre-publication snark.

Ugh, this is not the kind of thing you want to see in a scientific journal. It makes us lose faith in peer review, and by consequence, the scientific method itself.


Four months after being published, someone finally noticed that a fish mating paper in the journal Ethology — "Variation in Melanism and Female Preference in Proximate but Ecologically Distinct Environments" — contained a rather embarrassing passage that both the authors and the peer reviewers failed to notice.


...crappy Gabor paper. Unfortunate proofreading, indeed.

As Retraction Watch reported yesterday, the journal quickly removed the paper after the issue was brought to light.

Later, corresponding author Zach Culumber told Retraction Watch:

No, this was not intentional. It was added into the paper by a co-author during revision (after peer-review). It was unfortunately an oversight that became incorporated into the paper during the process of sending the manuscript back and forth between co-authors. The comment in question was not spotted during the proofing process with the journal. Neither myself nor any of the co-authors have any ill-will towards any other investigators, and I would never condone this sentiment towards another person or their work. We are working with the Journal now to correct the mistake. As the corresponding author, I apologize for the error.


Wiley says it's going to investigate the error and republish a corrected version as soon as possible, which now appears to have been done.