No Results? No Worries.

jnrbm.gifOne shortcoming of biomedical journals is their tendency to neglect negative results. Many studies test reasonable hypotheses, only to find there is no evidence to support them. Because negative results remain unpublished, scientists conducting future experiments risk repeating the same mistakes. In the case of clinical trials, unnecessary repetition could have serious consequences for the health of the subjects involved.

Lo and behold, an open-access journal actually exists that specializes in null findings. The Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine was founded several years ago, but I just stumbled on it this week. The articles in JNRBM probably won’t make headlines anytime soon, but at least the information is accessible to the public instead of remaining buried in a forgotten lab notebook. The publication’s founders describe its mission in this editorial:

We are pleased to introduce you to the Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine (JNRBM). A journal, very unique in its kind, as it publishes articles, fully PubMed indexed that challenge current models, tenets and dogmas. The articles are based on rigorous, and well documented results that do not support these models or even disprove them. It publishes methods and techniques that are found to be unsuitable for studying a particular phenomenon. JNRBM strongly promotes and encourages the publication of clinical trials that fall short of demonstrating an improvement over current treatments. JNRBM’s immediate goal is to provide scientists and physicians with responsible and balanced information in order to improve experimental designs and clinical decisions.

This paper reports that classical music won’t help people lose weight.

This paper warns against fusing a flurosecent tag to a specific lymphocyte protein, because the tag alters the native protein’s intracellular localization.

This paper fails to find any genetic variants associated with obesity in the French population.

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