Invisible science: publication of negative research results

Authors : Luis Fernando Sayão, Luana Farias Sales, Carla Beatriz Marques Felipe

An important part of scientific research activities yield negative results – non-confirmatory and null data, inconclusive experiments, unexpected data. These results permeate the entire research cycle and constitute an important part of the full scientific knowledge flow generation.

However, despite the acknowledgment that it is the non-confirmatory findings that result in the rejection of consolidated hypotheses that drive the progress of science, most of these investigation routes are not documented.

Growing competition for resources, tenure, and impact publications induces researchers to produce “positive” results that are more likely to be published, interfering with the principles of science reproducibility and self-correction and in the scientific communication cycle.

This study aims to review negative results incorporation in the traditional academic publication cycle. It also seeks to identify and systematize the main barriers that prevent researchers from publishing negative results.

This exploratory study is based methodologically on the scarce literature on the subject. It confirms the initial assumption that few scientific journals accept, edit special issues or are dedicated to the publication of negative results.

URL : Invisible science: publication of negative research results