Brian D Earp and Dominic Wilkinson

Earp and Wilkinson, J Clin Transl Res, 2017, 3(S2): 2

Published online: July 31, 2017

Premier academic journals—that is, the journals in which many researchers must publish their work in order to maintain or advance their careers—have historically tended to reject papers reporting “negative” or null findings, including those derived from “failed” attempts to replicate prior results. This tendency was likely due to three main factors. First, the limited space available for publishing articles when journals were printed exclusively on paper. Second, the prestige-related desire of “top” journals to publish new and exciting findings—i.e., “discoveries” (often taken to imply a demonstration that something “works,” as opposed to “fails to work”). And third, the difficulty posed by negative findings in terms of how they should be interpreted: do they suggest that there is no effect of interest to be found, or rather that the experiment, whether in its design or execution, was simply inadequate to show the effect even though it is real?



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