Who cares about negative results?

Everybody likes positive results. But the fact is that they are the lower, especially when you talk about Science. Many scientific journals bias towards only publishing "positive" data; that is, data that more easily proves a theorem. Others, like The All Results Journals are the home for negative data: experimental data of hypotheses that End up not to be true, or other experiments that do not lead to an advance of a definite theorem but are, nevertheless, a true rendering of that trial. For example, if a researcher set up a cell-based experiment and the experiment did not work in a specific set of conditions, it would be very practical for other scientists to know this (to avoid time and money wasting and better planning). There is a huge untapped resource of experimental information locked away 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 volume of "failed" research can still generate high quality knowledge. The main intention of The All Results Journals is to recover and publish these important pieces of scientific information.

As they (The All Results Journals) continue publishing negative results, the faster growing generation of specialists 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 information that is deserving to be published. Some authors have pointed out elsewhere the problem of publication bias, a well-known problem in clinical literature, in which positive results have a better chance of being published, are published faster, and are published in journals with bigger impact factors. So this is a real drawback.

As researchers we strive for remarkable findings within biological systems that will further broaden our understanding of the human condition, aging, cancer, autoimmunity, etc.  From time to time the components 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 strengthen our society for the greater good. If you make readily available a article about what didn't work you can build on the mistakes of others rather than simply repeat them.  Alternatively 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 suggest that inefficacy could also be of great relevance to the scientific community. What agents failed, in what types of cancer and why; the latter question albeit very hard to answer. One could envision the same trends emerging from this type of work in terms of gene expression profiling, proteomics and biomarkers.  Agent X will not be effective in cancer Y because of overexpression of biomarker Z. A manuscript focused on the inefficacy of a particular chemotherapeutic agent could help in moving the cancer biology field forward by offering a discussion forum to share with the increasing cancer research community the same negative findings that may have lead to the development of a highly powerful agent.

Basically the tip of the iceberg are being published in Science; only positive results. Projects like The All Results Journals:Chem focus on publishing carefully carried out chemical tests delivering negative results. These journals are trying to get out the water the complete iceberg (the full study, showing "All Results" of the author, the complete image of his research topic, the real job done, not only the positive outcomes). Scientific researchers have the duty to study Nature and document all, and this includes reporting the negative findings. Even more: the research projects might have been funded by public agencies, and that means public funds... In part, funding agencies have some responsibility; they should also foster the publishing of all results (specially negative results) not only positive.

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