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Scientists offered €1,000 to publish null results

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by Andy, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Andy

    Andy Committee Member & Outreach

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    https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/scientists-offered-eu1000-publish-null-results
     
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  2. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Am I being spectacularly thick here? (Probably)

    Isn't this like when they give incentives to naughty children on the rare occasions they behave, while the kids who behave all the time get nothing?

    If a trial is pre-registered, or gets public funds shouldn't they just be made publish anyway?

    The results should be accurate and unhyped, no missing data etc. otherwise that is publicised and they take a reputation hit.

    So any trial accurately reported, null or otherwise is the standard. Failure to report, or inaccurate, hyped results causing personal reputational damage not just to the researchers but their line managers (to avoid people being bullied into putting their name to something by their bosses).
     
  3. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Should be fined for not publishing
     
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  4. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Do we need a more flexible publishing system, that encourages the publication of null results?

    It is almost inevitable that high profile journals seek to focus on ‘interesting’ results, and up till recently there was considerable cost issues involve in the print versions of journals. However, we have now very low cost alternatives to printed issues. It would be possible to keep the current journal system, but to add additional capacity for null results for some papers, but also for it to be a requirement for research funding that the host institutions ensure a back up system of publication for those write ups that still do not make it into an editor managed peer review system. Such publications lacking editorial oversight and peer review would be potentially less reliable and introduce difficulties in assessing the reliability of the findings, but it would be better than the current system.
     
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  5. Art Vandelay

    Art Vandelay Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Spot on. If they don't publish they should have to return the money to taxpayers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  6. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Part of the problem are the barriers to publishing, eg paywalls or "open access" publishing cost, along with editors that arbitrarily decide they don't want to publish your paper, despite sending it off for peer review and the reviewers considering it worthy.
     
  7. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think it's more fundamental. Research that yields null results can be as, maybe even more, interesting and important as any other.

    A combination of the political and financial interest of the publisher or editor seem to override what is in the best interests of the field of research. This is the problem. Research needs to be independent of this kind of bias.
     
  8. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    If null results don't get published doesn't that mean that some research will get repeated, possibly more than once, because nobody knows the research has already been done and been found to produce null results?
     
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  9. Art Vandelay

    Art Vandelay Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Universities could publish results of their research on, say, their websites. (I think this was one of Jonathan Edwards' ideas?) All data should also be made available on the website. Taxpayers own the research and the data after all.

    This would allow other academics (and members of the public) to directly comment on and critique the research as well as use the data.

    The whole scientific publishing system and indeed the peer review process is clearly broken so we need other ideas.
     
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  10. large donner

    large donner Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It's not all bad news, the BPS crowd published the null result PACE study.
     
  11. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    :D
     
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