Upto now, I found five journals dedicated to publish negative results. While only two of them provide new content on their websites (i.e., entries from at least 2014), one of these two has published no more than 25 articles in its twelve-years long history. The three “silent” ones are:
- the Journal of Spurious Correlations (mentioned in the previous entry in this blog),
- the Journal of Negative Observations in Genetic Oncology, and
- the Journal of Negative Results – Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.
The one actually running exception I found so far, is the Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine, hosted by a professional publisher. Worth to mention is also the campaign of the biomedical F1000 Research journal in 2013, when manuscripts about negative results were not been charged for publishing. Please send me a note if I missed something.
So far, there is clearly a need to publish negative, unexpected, or contradictive findings and there are indeed attempts to give them a shelter. The interesting aspect is that publishing negative results seems to require a strong lobby, like from a publisher. One might expect that an open-science solution should work just “out of the crowd”. However, in my opinion the critical point is the question why scientists might actually want to publish negative findings. Of course, there are many good reasons, but in the end of the day most scientists do not dare to make their “failures” public, as every publication counts in the CV. And no one really likes to tell the world what he did not manage to achieve.