Lack of a systematic strict supervision has lead to inaccuracies in data evaluation. This data was published. While writing thesis I realize that and I don't know what to do. Should I write my "reanalysis" of published data in PhD chapters and explain, what was done incorrect and limitations of the interpretation? Or should I issue errata on the published materials (which is a red flag for thesis and following defense)?

I have learned my lesson for future and will be more accurate and precise. I do realize that it is the main stone of a good scientific practice. But now I just failed. I feel that I need an advice of what to do with an actual situation to reach defense and be able to complete PhD studies?

  • Inaccuracy like error in normalization of measured quantity (around 15%) and inappropriate background subtract (introduced correction factor on undefined contribution). The conclusion of the paper still valid. These results were complementary to the main findings. I feel like erratum shows incompetence in data evaluation and I don't know how to decently answer when Committee would ask about it. Because I cannot say neither "sorry, did a mistake', nor "I was told to do it this way". I need to end up with sufficient answer to show that I now have realized it was wrong and will not do it again.
    – user112003
    Aug 18, 2019 at 11:05
  • Thank you. Several of them answered in a way "don't change anything, it is bad that you did it, but now move forward". I just don't think that's the right approach. From another perspective, the data presented should be correct to the best to your knowledge not to confuse anyone in scientific community. And if I will present corrected one in thesis, but without emphasis that there is a mistake in a paper, I hope that will be enough for committee as well. If someone is truly interested in this research, than it will not be a problem to find my thesis after readinfg the paper.
    – user112003
    Aug 18, 2019 at 12:15

1 Answer 1

  1. Talk to your advisor.

  2. write the thesis with the most up-to-date data. Analyse the data as a progression if necessary ie including the historical data if applicable - see 1...

  3. contact the journal / editor (may or may not be the same editor you used when publishing originally and decide whether a follow-up paper or an erratum should be the way forward.

  • Thank you for your advice. Will my thesis still be "defendable" if I correct my mistakes there? For the paper published corrected result will not change conclusions, although it is so embarassing for me, because I have tried to do things the best way I could that time. Additional point was impatient supervisor, who wanted results which are in line with what he wants to observe. It lead to misunderstanding and wrong data evaluation..
    – user112003
    Aug 18, 2019 at 9:32

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