The JUnQ Mission Statement
Our vision is establishing the publication of null-results as an important cornerstone for the advancement of knowledge and scientific understanding in all disciplines thus con- tributing to overcome biases and fraud in research.
We want to achieve this goal by making “negative” and “null”-results from all fields of science available to the scientific community. This means that we publish scientific articles about projects where a research hypothesis is neither confirmed nor rejected, where a standard opinion in science can not be reproduced or where the desired outcome was not achieved. Most research projects produce ambiguous results, in our opinion this should be visible in publication media. The articles are peer reviewed and the decision on whether to publish a paper will be made solely by independent referees.
Furthermore, we want to foster interdisciplinary thinking by publishing short essays about open questions in science that have not been solved yet but that are of importance to the scientific community. We believe that for the advancement of science asking the right questions is more important than finding answers. The open questions are editorial board reviewed, any scientific question that does not contain false facts will be published.
Besides publishing articles and open questions, we want to create a platform for reflecting on the day-to-day business in science from a meta-perspective: Is the current scientific practice optimal for the gain of knowledge? How could we overcome prejudices that hinder objective judgement in research? What is the philosophical foundation of science? These are questions every scientist should ask him- or herself, we want to provide the facilities to do so. Various formats (lectures, discussions, essays in the Journal, contributions to other journals etc.) are utilized to promote such deliberations.
JUnQ is a new platform to gather ‘null’-result research. It is a medium to communicate projects, which just didn’t work, ambiguous data without exaggeration and unfinished investigations, which raise more questions than they answer.
The JUnQ Editorial Board
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When practicing science (or making an experiment, a development, an innovation, an invention), one has positive results and negative results. Each type of result is used to derive decisions or re-examine decisions. Also negative results are therefore a main and very important part in the vast majority of projects. But often the question is at least as valuable as the answer. The one who still wants to exploit a result under conditions of competition and rivalry will let even the problem, the questions and the negative results itself unpublished. A journal or a data base of unrealised ideas for nice-to-have-inventions were already assumed in inventors associations as hopeless, because hardly anyone would reveal his innovative ideas. But even the information about the negative results and open questions would be important for the mankind. They can help to prevent waste of resources due to duplication or help to inspire other researchers and developers.
Fortunately there are some reasons why someone would report his negative findings or open problems, e.g.:
– if it is for him not possible, or no longer possible, to process the matter,
– if he wants to share his ideas and results with others,
– if he wants to give ideas and suggestions,
all that for various reasons.
The number of approaches and projects that are no further processed is immense. Remember the saying of Edison on his failed attempts to invent the light bulb: “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” Whenever a researcher or working group stops an approach or aborts a project, a number of unsolved questions remain – often also a consequence of negative results. What speaks against it, to publish in such cases the negative results and unanswered questions? I also speak as a scientist and product developer coming from industry. There are a number of approaches and projects that neither I nor my organization can ever process further – for various reasons. Could our valuable experience not also be a contribution to the progress of mankind? Just as disclosure and publishing of the cashing up of federally funded projects came into use, the publishing of negative experiences and open questions that could have value for following researchers should also become standard in research and development.
I propose the following. The Journal of Unsolved Questions should declare whether a suggested open problem should be given only after intensive scientific processing of the underlying hypothesis, or not. A further point is, whether the possibility of answering to suggested open problems should be allowed in the journal or not.