Editor-in-Chief P. Scott Carney discusses the importance of corrections to the published literature.
© 2018 Optical Society of America
The Journal of the Optical Society of America A (JOSA A) has a rich heritage dating back more than a century through our parent journal, JOSA. Submitted papers are subject to critical review by reviewers who volunteer hours of their time to ensure accuracy and quality. The process works amazingly well and JOSA A provides a reliable repository of knowledge in the optics community. However, from time to time a researcher may discover an error in a published paper.
An author who discovers an error in a paper she/he has published in JOSA A may correct that error in an erratum. To do so is to demonstrate a commitment to science, a commitment to integrity, and a commitment to the future of the field. I hold authors of errata in the highest regard.
When a reader drew our attention to potential typographical errors in a paper published over 35 years ago in our parent journal, JOSA , it would have been tempting to dismiss them as minor and irrelevant. Like many articles published in JOSA and JOSA A and B, however, that 37-year-old article continues to provide value and to be cited by researchers in the field many years after publication. Despite the gulf of time, the original author was found, and he agreed that the suggested changes were appropriate, resulting in an erratum  to the 1981 paper. What a tribute to scientific integrity and the permanence of great work!
Ongoing research relies on the record, and so we continually work to maintain the high standards of the Journal for new work and to provide the opportunity for corrections when needed. We are grateful for the diligence and attention to detail of our readers, authors, and reviewers, who uphold the standards of the Journal, now and over the long term!
Editor-in-Chief, JOSA A
University of Rochester