Is there an easy way to get MathSciNet to fix minor mistakes in their references? It would be great if there was some sort of web form where you could enter the proposed fix, which would save time for the people working over there.

I mention this for two reasons. First, it has become my habit after downloading the MathSciNet BibTeX reference and put into my paper, to double check it. I've found that many times some of the minor information (such as issue number) is simply missing; but occasionally there is a mistake.

Second, and more importantly, I just got proofs back for an accepted paper, and they changed my references to those found at MathSciNet and will not let me fix them in the paper if they are incorrect there!

[P.S. I think MathSciNet does a great job already! I'm just not familiar with any reference fixing, so thought I'd ask...]

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    $\begingroup$ just enter a correction request here: ams.org/mathscinet/support_mail.html $\endgroup$ – Carlo Beenakker Sep 26 '17 at 20:05
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    $\begingroup$ Would you like to tell us what this annoying journal is, so that we can think twice about submitting to it? $\endgroup$ – Tom Leinster Sep 26 '17 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ @TomLeinster: I think all AMS journals have this policy. I know Transactions does. $\endgroup$ – Nate Eldredge Sep 26 '17 at 20:40
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    $\begingroup$ @NateEldredge It might be redundant; but having the issue number has helped me save some time and effort in finding articles on occasion. $\endgroup$ – Pace Nielsen Sep 26 '17 at 21:16
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    $\begingroup$ Have you approached the editor-in-chief about what the production staff refused to do? I once encountered a stubborn production person at some other journal, explained the absurd situation to the editor-in-chief, and he got it fixed in a satisfactory way. Don't settle for someone who insists on publishing incorrect bibliographic data. $\endgroup$ – nfdc23 Sep 26 '17 at 21:25

Please send an email to mathrev@ams.org, explaining the issue. (This is our all-purpose email address; any mistakes you discover, not just regarding references, you can let us know there.) Give us some time, I promise we'll get to it. However, if it seems as if the request somehow fell through the cracks, you can always contact one of your friendly editors :-) and I'll redirect the request to the relevant person.

That said, there are some exceptions, at least at the moment.

  • Papers added to our database through a digitization project from the World Digital Mathematics Library (WDML), such as http://www.ams.org/mathscinet-getitem?mr=1576401 sometimes carry (rather annoying) mistakes in their bibliographical data, and these mistakes come directly from the data given to us by the publishers. (That paper by Ramsey is an example.) We hope to address this problem eventually but this is not happening currently.
  • Other mistakes come from how the journal originally printed the author's name. We make an effort to identify authors appropriately, so the name should still be linked to the right author, but we still indicate the printed error. (For example, see Paul Erdős's name here.) See here for more on this.

There is one last kind of error that I do not believe is what you mean, but it seems worth mentioning anyway. For errors that appear in the list of references taken from the paper, make sure the mistake or typo is ours and not just a transcription of an error that comes from the paper. (We do not fix the latter: "This list reflects references listed in the original paper as accurately as possible with no attempt to correct error.")

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  • $\begingroup$ Please let me know if there is something I failed to address and I'll adjust the answer accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Sep 26 '17 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ My personal preference is to use the information as it appears in the printed article, even if it is mistaken. Thus, the same person may have lots of different versions of their name appear in my bibliographies. I also know of at least one of George Bergman's papers, where they got his name wrong too. So I can definitely see how that could get bothersome for your team!! Thanks for the answer. $\endgroup$ – Pace Nielsen Sep 27 '17 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ I'm amazed to see that MathSciNet lists twenty different names for Erdős! $\endgroup$ – Timothy Chow Sep 27 '17 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Timothy :-) I count 16. $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Sep 27 '17 at 15:51

You can write them an e-mail. Address is available on MSN under "Contact us". It usually takes some time for them to reply or react, but my experience shows that they always act on e-mails from myself or from my friends, concerning their mistakes. Try to state what the mistake is as clearly as possible and as shortly as possible.

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