Much research and analysis have been conducted on the existence, the impact and resolutions of various publication biases found in published research. Many passionate researchers, observers and decision makers have weighed in on the risks and possible resolutions.
We now know that research with statistically significant results is three times more likely to be published than research whose results were not statistically significant.
Does this mean we can’t learn anything from “failed” research? The knee-jerk reaction is, “Of course, not!” Yet we intuitively know there is much to be learned from failed research. Isn’t that what our parents said to us? “There is no shame in failing; it’s what you do after that matters.”
Why do we continue to shamefully push failed research to the back of journals, or hide it on shared drives or (gasp) bookshelves? Generally, we all agree there is “good stuff” to learn from research that “failed to prove the null.” No one is contesting that specifically. What we are questioning is, how can we actually learn from failed research if we can’t access it consistently and reliably?
More importantly, who has the responsibility to make sure lessons learned from unpublished research get shared? Is it the author’s, the author’s boss? Or perhaps the responsibility lies with funders who paid a pretty penny for it to be conducted in the first place? Regrettably, the onus falls to the readers – those curious minds who want to know more then what anonymous reviewers have deemed as worthy enough to share in a journal.
These information detectives seek out sources of information circulated outside traditional academic publishing processes, in an attempt to get the whole picture before making a decision or recommendation. It is for these muses that GreyLit aims to provide a place where such information can searched, shared, reviewed and collaborated upon. Here’s to the minds who want to know more, so they can do more!