In 2007 I coauthored a scientific paper, which is essentially a method for food analysis. To be honest, we have noticed one sample behaving weirdly already at that time, but we rationalised it away and omitted the weird sample from the results. Still, just in case, we have burried the article in a local journal of our institution, which is low profile. Later I discovered, it is wrong by design (My design :-( ). Knowing more background would have prevented the problem, but I did it as a side job. I discovered the full stupidity of the design in cca 2012 and told my boss. He suggested we correct ourselves by publishing another paper, claiming we did more experiments and found out we were wrong. I agreed, obtained more samples, my colleague worked on it, but I went on a long maternal leave with 2 kids and forgot to follow up on it. It is uncorrected up until this day. What are my options ?
If we publish a new article, as my boss wanted, I fear some people will still find the first paper and not the second one, will keep quoting it, and, god forbid, use that published method. (To my best knowledge the method was not used so far. I hope it really wasn’t). Retraction would be the cleanest way to do it, but also the worst looking. Also we could publish erratum. Erratums are paired up with the original articles and search engines show them together. But can erratum contain new samples ? Any other ideas ?
If my boss finds the correction a low priority, as he did so far, can I somehow act alone ?
Can I have any problems, that I did not correct myself fast enough ? I left some traces about knowing the design is wrong in 2012. I wrote the truth to one lady requesting the reprint. I also wrote a book chapter, explaining how important it is to know the backround while designing analysis method, and giving the example of this tricky food. I did not mentioned nor quoted my article...
Please, don’t be too judgemental, and tell me, how you would or did handle these situations.