PLOS ONE's new collection to report negative, null, and inconclusive results
In the highly competitive academic world characterized by the 'publish or perish' culture, scientific reporting is inclined towards publishing positive findings. Research that reports negative results is usually frowned upon, at times, by both authors and publishers. However, recognizing the importance of negative results and the impact it can have on expediting scientific advancement, PLOS ONE - the world’s largest journal by number of papers published - announced the launch of The Missing Pieces: A Collection of Negative, Null and Inconclusive Results, a new addition to PLOS Collections. According to PLOS Blogs, “The collection has been titled ‘Missing Pieces’ in reference to the many null results filed away indefinitely and ultimately excluded from the scientific record.”
The newly launched collection by PLOS ONE aims to publish negative results since they can pave the way for positive results. The Missing Pieces Collection also hopes to highlight papers that contradict previous findings. Studies such as the one which reported the lack of a significant effect of postpartum psychological distress on mothers in rural Bangladesh, contradicting the findings reported in India, would be a part of PLOS ONE’s new venture.
With the launch of this collection, PLOS ONE has joined the ranks of other journals such as The Journal of Negative Results that intend to promote the discourse of negative and null findings. “Negative findings are becoming the missing pieces in the scientific literature,” the announcing post elucidates, and therefore, wants to encourage researchers to come to the fore and report their negative results.