Recently our group published a paper in an important open-access publication. During my work, I was subordinated to a person who left the research center six months before I finish the study, but during two and a half years this person evaluated the work, and suggested some analysis and modification in both pictures and graphs (I have all this personal communication). Specifically, this person had knowledge about the way how the data were generated and about local ethics statements, formally approved by a scientific committee. Since he left the research center, we did not talk about the manuscript with each other and I remained working in both figures and analysis to be incorporated in the submitted version; obviously it seemed clear to me that we had no obligation to show the final version to someone who was not part of the group anymore (this person was not listed as author in any time during the execution of the study because he asked this). In addition, our group performed some additional adjustments in the manuscript following indications of two experts during the process of review. The new boss was informed about the manuscript to be finalized, submitted and later, accepted. The contribution of the former one was properly acknowledged in the final version of the paper.
The former boss sent us a letter where he states he did not know about our work (i.e., that, supposedly, we made our study without his agreement and knowledge - misconduct, so). It seems that he had some kind of personal problem with someone in the research center before he left, so I believe he wants to prejudice the group, and myself in particular, since I am the first author of the study.
Some days ago I was surprised by a communication from the Editor-in-Chief of the journal where the paper was published, asking about the raw data of our work and if we have proofs concerning the ethic statements related to our study after a message sent by the former boss to the publisher.
While I have at least a dozen of emails attesting that the former boss knew about the study, I don't know if I can show them to the publisher. Thus, I would like to withdraw the manuscript in order to avoid any future trouble with this former boss. I am very, very disapointed with this (this is a serious questioning about my conduct), and I would like to withdraw the manuscript from this jornal. I would like to know how to do this. Any suggestion?
I deeply appreciated all replies, thank you all. I've contacted the Editor in chief of the journal where we published the paper and explained all the situations in a clear and open manner, and he understood the point. The paper remained published without further action since our arguments were truthful. Concerning the person who attacked us, I decided to just ignore him. Silence is the best answer for mediocre persons.