AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Self-Correction and Updating in Astronomical Papers

Volume 50 number 2 (2022)

Download this article (pdf)

Nancy D. Morrison
Department of Physics and Astronomy and Ritter Observatory, MS 113, The University of Toledo, 2801 W. Bancroft Street, Toledo, OH 43606; jaavso.editor@aavso.org


Published papers constitute the historical record of science, and we often think of them as fixed monuments to scientists’ work. However, the record as a whole develops faster and faster as more and more new work is added. Now that most journal articles are not crystallized in print, one can imagine that it may even be possible for individual papers to evolve. After all, most projects are not ever truly finished. Sometimes, authors gather new information about a result that is not enough for a whole new paper but is suitable for a short update.