A study from the University of Edinburgh found fewer papers are reporting negative findings, perhaps because they attract fewer readers
There's a disturbing trend in the type of papers scholarly journals are publishing. A study from the University of Edinburgh has found a marked increase in the number of papers reporting positive correlations or links and a corresponding drop in the number that contained null or negative findings.
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Negative findings -- that a dietary supplement doesn't improve memory or that a lifestyle change doesn't increase longevity -- are just as useful as positive ones, but fewer are getting published. This is thought to be because they attract fewer readers and are cited less often.
The study results are disturbing because they hint that journals are changing the nature of research. Some scientists have speculated that the practice of publishing only positive results will lead researchers to design only studies that have predictable outcomes and produce positive results through interpretation, selection, or even manipulation of their data.