Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Blogging as a means to tackle publication bias?

Today, I was watching the following talk on publication bias:

Many negative research results are not reported: not only in the medical field, but in other fields as well: even knowing that trying to apply a certain method or technique on your data won't work, could by times mean a few days/ weeks of work saved.

That reminds me of the first TEDxDelft Salon talk I attended, on how we should value tools and other ways of reporting failure and successes in science.

With that said, I was wondering if blogging can help us move towards a world of science where all ideas can be discussed, and not only our successes. I do understand a rant on your blog because an experimental setup isn't working doesn't have all the background and depth that an interested reader might need. And at the same time, maybe the interested reader/fellow researcher might not be aware of the fact that he can find this information on some random other researcher's blog, so we might need to work towards a tighter, better linked network of research blogs?

So far for putting an idea out here - how do you think we can avoid trying and failing at something another researcher failed at previously but didn't report?

1 comment:

  1. I think you are right on the mark here. I think part of what we need is to foster a culture of honesty in research. This will require some people sticking their necks out a bit and taking risks that others won't take to pave the way.

    I do think blogging is a great start. Publish things that work in peer-reviewed journals. Craft narratives about the process and failed attempts on the blog. Besides the obvious ethical implications (especially for a field like medicine like Goldacre addresses), you are exactly right that this will save other researchers weeks of time trying things you already know won't work.


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