Dilemma: So close
After a couple of rounds of reviews, I discover an error/omission in data analysis in a co-authored manuscript. At this point, the paper has almost been accepted, and the reviewers have never made any remark about the data analysis. I know that my co-authors do not want to miss out on the chance to publish. I was not the prime person responsible for this part of the data analysis. What do I do?
A: I leave the error/omission in the paper. If the reviewers have not noticed it, then it apparently is not a serious flaw
B: I mention casually to the co-author responsible for this part of the data-analysis that there may be an error, but do not push for re-analysis when she doesn’t seems too bothered about it.
C: I tell all the co-authors that I cannot take responsibility for the current analysis and tell them to wait with submitting the final version of the manuscript until I have solved it. If they want to go ahead and submit it, I will have my name removed from the paper.
D: I inform the lead author of the suspected error, and leave the decision to her, knowing that she needs the publication for her tenure.
(We gratefully acknowledge permission to reproduce this dilemma from the “Dilemma Game. Professionalism and Integrity in Research” as developed by the Erasmus University Rotterdam (link to the game) in this tool.)