The scientific method is a systematic process to test hypotheses with experiments. If the experiment supports your hypothesis, this provides you with enough evidence for publication of what has been found through the experimentation.
But if not? This negative result does something much more important than disproving that original idea: it gives us an insight into how we can improve our thinking and approach in future endeavors. It’s as valuable or even MORE valuable then when things work out perfectly – so be sure you want all those “failed” experiments just because they’ll help advance knowledge about any given topic.
It’s important to publish both positive and negative results so that scientists can learn from their mistakes, even if it means they’ll have less chances of getting published. In science, we only learn from our failures when those failures are shared with others. It’s not enough for us to just share successes – there needs to be an equal emphasis on sharing what didn’t work out in order for other researchers to avoid making similar mistakes themselves as they continue their research into new areas.” “It takes time and resources to create experiments that don’t work”.
Negative results should be published to provide helpful information to other scientists
The question of whether to publish or not publish research without positive findings has been hotly debated in many fields for decades.
A number of journals and funding bodies now mandate the reporting of all types of studies, including failed ones. This ensures that bad news is just as visible as good news.
In 2013 Nature Publishing Group announced a policy stating that any study submitted must report both successful and unsuccessful outcomes – within a year they found there was no effect on publication rates.
Results from this analysis show that publishing negative findings does not have an adverse impact on success rates; thus it should always be done regardless if it fails to find what one expects.”
The Michelson-Morley experiment is the classic example of a scientist’s failure, and it had huge ramifications. The scientists were trying to measure how fast light traveled in different directions. They expected that they would find one speed when going towards Earth’s orbit around the sun (they thought this was Ether Wind), but instead found something completely surprising: there wasn’t any difference at all between speeds! This led physicists into consternation, but eventually brought about one final theory: Special relativity.
A negative result is not always bad, as long-term studies on cholesterol can attest. As a dietary villain for causing heart attacks and clogging arteries years ago, eggs were quit from many people’s diets; doctors advised their patients to cut back. Eventually these concerns proved unfounded when other research revealed no correlation between egg consumption and the onset of hypertension or cardiovascular disease – thus proving that sometimes it pays off to just take things with a grain of salt!
The opposite sort of thing happened with dietary fiber, which was believed to protect from colon cancer–until a study showed conflicting evidence. Eventually, it became evident that high levels of dietary fiber has little effect on the risk for colon cancer.
Avoiding spending resources reproducing failed experiments
It is important that all data generated during experiments be shared with other scientists so that they can review the findings or re-interpret them in ways not attempted by the original research team. That way everyone benefits from what has been learned without any additional cost of time or money.
Reporting negative results also prevents other scientists from making the same mistake. Moreover, it saves time and efforts. For instance, there was a researcher who spent six months trying to synthesize an analog of a compound reported in the literature.
In the middle of his efforts he found out that another paper came out describing among other things how this previous one’s work on such analogs had failed repeatedly because they weren’t performed under carefully controlled conditions with clean solvents as stated in their original article but were instead done using dirty solvent or by inexperienced people without isolating agents at all…
Had that report come early enough for him not only would have been spared wasting any more precious resources (time) but could have saved himself some trouble too!
What to do with your Negative Experiment Results
Publishing negative results is becoming more common in the publishing industry.
There have been a few notable research efforts that publish all of their findings, “warts and all.” The Reproducibility Initiative has attempted to reproduce 100 studies from three journals and failed in every single replication attempt. Open Science Collaboration’s published many papers with replicated data sets showing no new discoveries (i.e., negative or inconclusive results).
Negative experiments are sometimes seen as aberrations, but this might not be the case anymore: there may be an increasing number of these types of research publications over time for various reasons such as journal space limitations or publication bias against negative results.
Scientists should be applauded for their work in publishing all data, both positive and negative. This is a trend everyone can benefit from because not knowing what scientists have found means that we are missing opportunities to learn more about our world.
In recent years, an open access journal for life sciences publication called f1000Research has been growing in popularity. They publish both positive and negative results with the goal of advancing knowledge.
Some journals have opted to only publish articles that are not successful experiments or trials because they feel it is a missed opportunity from these scientists never telling their work’s story if nothing went wrong during its creation process.
The Journal of Negative Results In Biomedicine was founded on this principle as well which allows researchers who had unsuccessful trials/experiments share what happened when something did go awry so we can all learn from our mistakes even though some people might believe that publishing any data at all will just lead to more research being done unnecessarily due to others looking into other angles especially when there is some sort of positive result.