I’m currently a PhD student suffering from extreme anxiety after finding some mistakes in my scientific paper 7 months back. I’ve talked to my supervisor about it and he said that those were simple errors that would not affect my conclusions… Something that triggers for my anxiety is the fact that we issued a formal statement to correct them, hence this will be forever on my record. Furthermore, I discovered a ridiculous calculation error in the estimation of one of the parameters that I’m comparing in my paper that would change the looks of three points in my graph (which has around 30 points in total) -and this wasn’t corrected in the statement because the estimation I used, even though originated from a silly mistake, can still be valid depending on how you consider the system. I suffer from constant fear of people thinking that I’m a dishonest researcher and that I fabricated data, because the data that I got from a mistake looks better than the “correct” one, even though the main parameter we show in this particular figure doesn’t change in either case… I’m really against dishonesty of any kind, so this is a huge deal for me.

I know that my supervisor assured me that everything was ok and that he is happy with my performance regardless of those mistakes, however I can’t help but think that my record is “stained” and that I’m a bad person that does not belong in academia. I was doing pretty well so far, but then my entire life fell apart after this. I feel like I lost the ability of feeling excited about my research… I think I’ve failed my life goals and my moral values.

Have someone gone through something comparable in academic life? How did you cope with the constant feeling of unworthiness?

Thanks in advance…

Edit: Differently from the question pointed out as duplicate, I would also like to know how researchers view my mistakes and how can I regain my confidence to carry on with my work..

Leave a reply

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>