Cambridge University Press is bringing out a new Open Access journal, Experimental Results, “to provide an outlet for standalone research that currently goes unpublished.”
Experimental Results will offer a place where researchers can publish standalone experimental results “regardless of whether those results are novel, inconclusive, negative or supplementary to other published work.” The journal will also publish the outcome of attempts to reproduce previously published experiments, including those that dispute past findings.
Some journals publish full-paper negative or inconclusive results, but published stand-alone results are a rarity, said CUP.
Fiona Hutton, CUP’s head of STM Open Access Publishing, is behind the new journal, intended to address concerns she has had since her days as a cancer research scientist. She said: “Scholarly communication isn’t really reflective of the research process because the focus is on publishing a concise narrative. The reality is that research results are often confusing, inconclusive or don’t fit a narrative. Discovery is damaged when the focus becomes the research paper rather than the research output itself.
“I’ve had countless conversations with scientists about the value of publishing all valid experiments, not just those that fit the narrative of a particular paper or which are deemed to have a high impact. It would save so much time if researchers could see that a particular experiment had already been carried out and what the results were.
“Openly available raw research for these experiments could also be used and interrogated in different ways; ways that the original researcher did not identify, further facilitating discovery and justifying investment in that research.”
Experimental Results will also shake up peer review, introducing scorecards to make the process easier, more open, and more attractive to potential reviewers, who will each be identified by name. Hutton said: “Our goal is to be progressive, to ensure research outputs are correctly reviewed, and to ensure the reviewers we rely on so heavily are rewarded.”
CUP’s STM publishing director Caroline Black said: “We are seeing an increasing acknowledgement that all research outputs – not just the positive, exciting results – should be part of the published record for the advancement of knowledge and reduction of wasted time on redoing work unnecessarily.” She added: “People are also looking for alternative types of publication; it’s not all about the traditional journal article, complete with introduction, discussion and conclusion setting out the importance of the results. It’s great that we are at the forefront of providing them with a new platform.”
Experimental Results is now open for submissions.