The importance of publishing negative results

Everybody likes positive results. But the fact is that they are the less, especially when you talk about Science. Many scientific journals skew towards only publishing "positive" data; that is, data that easily proves a hypothesis. Others, like The All Results Journals are the home for negative data: experimental certification of hypotheses that become not to be true, or other experiments that do not contribute to an advance of a definite theorem but are, nevertheless, a true rendering of that research. For example, if a researcher set up a cell-based experiment and the experiment did not work in a particular set of conditions, it would be very beneficial for other experts to know this (to avoid time and money wasting and better planning). There is a huge available resource of experimental data confined in laboratory notebooks that could be of great service to the scientific network at large. Many experiments don't succeed to produce results or expected discoveries. This high volume of "failed" research can still generate high quality data. The main objective of The All Results Journals is to recover and publish these treasured pieces of scientific information.

As they (The All Results Journals) continue publishing negative results, the newer generation of scientists will not misuse their time and Funds replicating the same studies and finding the same results (negative in this case). Negative results are high-level pieces of wisdom that is worthy to be published. Some authors have pointed out elsewhere the problem of publication bias, a well-known situation in clinical documents, in which affirmative results have a better chance of being published, are published quicker, and are published in journals with greater impact factors. So this is a real trouble.

As researchers we attempt for remarkable insights within biological systems that will further expand our understanding of the human condition, maturing, cancer, autoimmunity, etc.  Sometimes the components just don't add up. These negative results in Biology push our next step at the bench but are barely ever published.  Bringing to light these types of finding under peer review will boost our world for the greater good. If you make readily available a paper about what didn't work you can build on the pit falls of others rather than simply duplicate them.  Instead of three steps forward and two steps back, Science could just move forward.

In Cancer research or chemotherapeutic development, for example, the trend is to publish data showing potency.  We  propose that inefficacy could also be of great relevance to the scientific community. What medications failed, in what types of cancer and why; the latter question albeit very hard to answer. One could consider the same trends emerging from this this sort of work in terms of gene expression profiling, proteomics and biomarkers.  Agent X will not be powerful in cancer Y because of overexpression of biomarker Z. A manuscript focused on the inefficacy of a particular chemotherapeutic chemical could help out in moving the cancer biology field forward by offering a discussion forum to share with the greater cancer research community the same negative findings that may have contributed to the development of a strongly efficient agent.

Just the tip of the iceberg are being published in Science; only positive results. Initiatives like The All Results Journals:Chem concentrate on publishing rigorously carried out chemical tests producing negative results. These journals are trying to get out the water the complete iceberg (the whole study, showing "All Results" of the author, the complete image of his research topic, the real job done, not only the positive outcomes). Researchers have the commitment to study Nature and document everything, and this includes reporting the negative results. Even more: the research projects might have been funded by government agencies, and that implies public financial resources... In part, funding agencies have some responsibility; they should also stimulate the publishing of all results (specially negative results) not only positive.

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