One of the fields we provide in our Citation Tracking service is the publication date. A frequent question from our customers is, “why do some papers have a future publication date? Is it an error?”
For example, the following paper (link: https://www.storkapp.me/pubpaper/34694620) has an official publication date in 2022:
It’s not an error. Publications from the “future” are actually common these days. Since many journals have this “early online access” mechanism, we often find papers ahead of its “official” publication date. This is exactly what is happening here.
In fact, if we search papers with future publication dates in PubMed, we get more than 30,000 papers. Screenshot below.
Publication date has a fuzzy definition now. It can be the “official (print) publication date”, or the first time it appears online, or the first time it is indexed by major search engine such as Google, Google Scholar, PubMed, etc. In the data we provide to customers, we use the “official (print) publication date”. If the official publication date is not available, we use the online publication data or the indexing date.