We plan publishing “meta” papers on the project, and on our experience in error detection and correction, that summarise findings across many reviewed papers. These papers will be authored by the project leadership as individual contributors, and all participating authors and reviewers in ERROR will be invited to co-author these papers as a consortium (in alphabetical order).


Both the author(s) and the reviewer will be rewarded for their participation in ERROR. In addition to this base amount, bonuses will be paid depending on whether errors are found and the severity of those errors. Bonuses are paid to the author when no errors are found, to both the author and reviewer when minor errors are found, and to the reviewer when errors are found. We employ a sliding reward schedule based on the complexity of the work being checked for errors. These reward schedules will be refined over time. Values listed here are merely indicative and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Indicative ranges for base and bonus rewards:


Author(s)250 CHF250 CHF
Reviewer250-1000 CHF depending on expected effort250-2’500 CHF depending on the severity of errors found

Conditionality of Bonus Payments

No errorsNo additional action beyond publication of the error report and reply250 CHF to author(s)
Minor errorsNo additional action beyond publication of the error report and reply, plus recommendation that the authors appropriately recognise these errors in future discussions of the article.
Note that we expect most published research to fall into this category. 
250 CHF to both the author(s) and the reviewer
IndeterminableNo determination could be made regarding the presence or absence of important potential errors. Recommendation that the authors appropriately recognise this lack of verifiability in future discussions of the article.
Note that this is considered a less desirable outcome than “Minor errors” because in that case the errors are verifiably minor in nature. 
250 CHF to reviewer
Moderate errorsCorrection notice (minor).
Note that numerous ‘minor’ errors might constitute a moderate error in aggregate.
500 CHF to reviewers
Major errorsCorrection notice (major) / may warrant an expression of concern.1’000 CHF to reviewer
Severe errorsRetraction2’500 CHF to reviewer

Note that these amounts will be scaled for regional differences.

౿ In designing ERROR, we are guided by the principle that it is important to maintain accuracy of the scientific record, and that to do this we need to better foster a culture of error checking and error acceptance. Recognizing the significant impact that academic research can have on both scientific knowledge and real world policies and practices, this project aims to reward the often neglected practices of error checking and error acknowledgment. To this end, we have adopted a structured incentive system that rewards the identification of inaccuracies within published research, with the level of compensation commensurate with the magnitude of the error identified. Commendations can also be issued for authors who act to appropriately correct the scientific record when recommended to issue a correction notice or to retract their article. In order to avoid perverse incentives in the long-run, no monetary incentives are offered for these.

౿ This tiered compensation model for error detection is inspired by the success of bug bounty programs in the software industry, which have demonstrably improved the security and functionality by incentivizing the discovery and reporting of such flaws. Similarly, our project seeks to leverage the expertise within the academic community to safeguard the accuracy of its output, thereby fostering a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

౿ We acknowledge the concerns that this approach may provoke for some. However, it is important to clarify that our objective is not to undermine the credibility of researchers or to incentivize unwarranted scrutiny. Rather, it is to incentivise entirely reasonable scrutiny which is currently relatively rare and poorly rewarded. We are committed to upholding high standards of research integrity by encouraging scrutiny of highly cited and influential research whose claims the broader community relies upon to be error-free. By rewarding the identification of errors that warrant corrections or retractions, we are seeking to not only enhance the reliability of the literature but also support our collective responsibility to the self-corrective nature of the scientific process.