Should Negative Results be included in Research Articles?

The hypothesis-driven research works are the key tools of scientific trials. However, every experiment will not result in positive outcomes; it may at times fail to state the research hypothesis. One should not be disheartened with it and consider the work as a trash. Both negative and positive results refer to the theories established during the research.  We can devise more successful theories by analyzing these negative results.  However, most of the researchers do not state negative findings that results in positive result oriented research works.

While writing a manuscript, researchers have to devote both time and effort starting from penning down the first draft to finalizing the final article, which is itself a hefty task. Therefore, researchers do not consider initiating the writing of a manuscript based on the negative results of an experiment.

Why most researchers do not include negative results?

  • Peruse of positive result oriented studies: While conducting an experiment, researchers and scholars mostly analyze the articles with positive results. This may influence the acceptance decisions and eventually the viewership of journals.
  • Hurdles in acceptance: Widely circulated journals do not accept negative result oriented research works. Some journal reject the manuscripts stating that it is not in accordance with the scope of the paper, while some state the lack of space as a reason.
  • Creating connotation: Publishing negative outcomes of a particular research can induce a negative idea or feeling about the researcher and its work culture. They may be demeaned by the hiring team, promotion committees, and funding resources. Because of this reason, many researchers take a back seat in mentioning about the negative results while drafting their paper.

We need to understand that these negative results are a key to future research that might lead to the development of a new paradigm. They present an observation of the study and aid in devising alternate ways for desired results. Hence, it should be widely circulated and shared.  Publishing the negative findings would result in avoiding the repetition of failed process for a certain research work. Other researchers can omit the failed procedures and search for new hypothesis to obtain the desired results.

In spite of the consequences of writing manuscripts with negative findings, many publishers and journals have now came up with special platforms and journals to disseminate them among the peers, which would definitely make some significant contributions in the future endeavours of scientific as well as non-scientific research works.

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