Q: What are the implications of re-analyzing data and publishing the results?

Detailed Question -

I have always wanted to publish the findings of my MA thesis. However, after taking a couple of statistics classes in my doctoral program I am realizing that the way I analyzed my data when I wrote my thesis was 1) incorrect and 2) sloppy. The program didn't teach us how to clean data or deal with missing data. I fumbled through it alone during COVID lockdowns. Now that I have taken a couple of statics classes that HAVE taught me those things, I would like re-run my analyses the "right" way. Is it appropriate to re-do these analyses with the intention of publishing?

1 Answer to this question

Thank you for your question! It's great that you've found gaps in your previous analyses and are attempting to resolve them. The answer depends on whether the data was initially published in a journal (and not just as your MA thesis). If not, and your aim is to now publish it in a journal, then there should be no issues with publishing a paper with the correctly analyzed data.

However, we would recommend that you loop in your former thesis advisor/principle investigator- especially if the data yields more significant or interesting results. Your PI would need to sign off on the new analyses, as the work was likely done under him/her. If the data was already published in a journal, you would need to apply to the journal for a 'revision' or 'update' of your published paper. The journal will likely add this to the already published paper as a 'notice'. However, it's also possible that the journal requires you to retract the earlier paper and re-submit with the correctly analyzed data.

I hope this helps you determine the next-steps. Good luck!