I recently read a paper that conducted an experiment, analyzed it, and reached a conclusion. However, the way they conducted the analysis is seriously flawed and cannot be used to support the conclusion.
As far as I can tell, the experiment is valid and only the analysis is problematic. Thus the paper can be rewritten, although the conclusion may completely change.
The paper is published in a highly-reputable and prestigious scientific journal. The authors are all senior researchers at reputable institutions. It's a bit of a surprise that this flaw got past the authors and peer review. I suspect that, because the conclusion confirms what many people already believe, the analysis was not scrutinized too closely. I only became suspicious of it because the measured effect was too strong. The analysis is also reasonably complex and the flaw is somewhat subtle.
I contacted all three authors by email and explained the problem with their analysis. I did by best to phrase the email appropriately.
A month later, I have received no response to my email. What would be a reasonable course for further action? Options include:
- Send the authors a follow-up email. (If so, what should I say to get the message across?)
- Contact the journal with my concerns.
- Write a response. (Would such a thing get published?)
- Do nothing. (I think the paper is too important.)