For my master thesis in clinical medicine I have collected and analyzed data for a retrospective cohort study. Now one year later, a research assistant of the group is about to submit a manuscript based on my master thesis and I have been offered shared first co-authorship with said research assistant. Upon internal review I have noticed the following issues:
- Definitions of clinical outcomes of the study have been changed such that they are now not well defined and not even of clinical interest
- The statistical analysis I had performed for my thesis was completely ignored and omitted in the manuscript. For the manuscript, the research assistant employed statistical models I deem inappropriate as confirmed by fellow researchers external to the group. In addition, reporting of methods and results is poorly written with critical information missing.
I have provided feedback concerning the statistical methods but it was ignored. My advisor refused my request to see the new statistical analysis (in particular, I asked for the statistical software files edited by the research assistant), telling me that even though I have shared co-first authorship for the paper, I am not entitled to any insight in the statistical analysis, since the research assistant is in charge of it. I’m having a hard time accepting publication of a study of which I’m co-first author but haven’t seen the analysis behind it, especially since I highly suspect it is inappropriate. My advisor threatened to remove me from the paper completely if I don’t agree blindly.
Shall I renounce and let it be published without my name? Shall I agree and accept to have a paper published with my name and the knowledge that the quality might be really bad? Shall I contact the editors of the journal they want to submit it to?
Edit: Thank you all so much for your thoughtful answers and comments! I appreciate your help!