Q: The results of my published research are now being refuted. What should I do?
My paper has been published for over six months. Recently, an expert in my field questioned my results. I realized that there was a condition set wrong which might lead to completely wrong results. What should I do now?
Errors do happen in science, and can sometimes even help in advancing the field. Often, when results of a research are refuted, this leads to healthy debate within the scientific community, and may even motivate other researchers to follow up the topic with further research. Do not be disheartened that your results are being refuted; consider it as a normal part of the research process.
However, since you have detected an error, it is your duty to inform the journal about it. If you yourself approach the journal, it will be clear that your intentions are honest. If the error is not very serious, it can be sorted out by a correction which can be included in the form of an erratum or corrigendum. However, if the error is of a serious nature, it might lead to a retraction, which will be between you and the journal editor to decide.
Academic honesty is highly valued by the scientific community. If you do not take any corrective action now, more people might challenge your results in the future, and this might taint your professional reputation. It is best to be honest to avoid further damage.