How to publish negative results

Everybody likes positive results. But the fact is that they are the fewer, especially when you talk about Science. Many scientific journals skew towards only publishing "positive" data; that is, data that comfortably proves a a priori principle. Others, like The All Results Journals are the home for negative data: experimental records of hypotheses that End up not to be true, or other experiments that do not contribute to an advance of a particular theorem but are, nonetheless, a true rendering of that test. For example, if a researcher set up a cell-based experiment and the experiment did not work in a specified set of conditions, it would be very useful for other researchers to know this (to avoid time and money wasting and better planning). There is a huge available resource of experimental information locked up in laboratory notebooks that could be of great service to the scientific network at large. Many experiments fail to produce results or expected discoveries. This high percentage of "failed" research can still generate high quality data. The main purpose of The All Results Journals is to recover and publish these precious pieces of scientific knowledge.

As they (The All Results Journals) continue publishing negative results, the faster growing generation of specialists will not waste their time and Funds repeating 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 problem in clinical writings, in which affirmative results have a better chance of being published, are published sooner, and are published in journals with larger impact factors. So this is a serious trouble.

As researchers we strive for remarkable observations within biological systems that will further enlarge our comprehension of the human condition, aging, cancer, autoimmunity, etc.  From time to time the pieces just don't add up. These negative results in Biology force our next step at the bench but are barely ever published.  Bringing to light these types of observations under peer review will boost our civilization for the greater good. If you make easily accessible a article about what didn't work you can build on the pit falls of others rather than simply duplicate them.  As an alternative of three steps forward and two steps back, Science could just move forward.

In Cancer research or chemotherapeutic development, for example, the pattern is to publish data showing potency.  We offer that inefficacy could also be of remarkable value to the scientific community. What medications failed, in what types of cancer and why; the latter question albeit difficult to answer. One could visualize the same tendencies emerging from this this sort of work in terms of gene expression profiling, proteomics and biomarkers.  Agent X will not be beneficial in cancer Y because of overexpression of biomarker Z. A paper focused on the inefficacy of a particular chemotherapeutic chemical could help in moving the cancer biology field forward by offering a forum to share with the increasing cancer research community the same negative findings that may have made a contribution to the development of a extremely useful agent.

Just the tip of the iceberg are being published in Science; only positive results. Projects like The All Results Journals:Chem focus on publishing carefully performed chemical studies producing negative results. These journals are trying to get out the water the complete iceberg (the full study, showing "All Results" of the scientist, the complete image of his research topic, the real job done, not only the positive outcomes). Researchers have the responsibility to study Nature and report all, and this includes documenting the negative conclusions. Even more: the research projects might have been funded by government agencies, and that means public financial resources... In part, funding agencies have some commitment; they should also foster the publishing of all results (specially negative results) not only positive.

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