Science is confronted with an apparent paradox. Although almost every researcher agrees that falsification is the key to progress and publication of null results is pivotal in the cumulative process of building knowledge, many more “positive” results are published than expected based on unbiased estimates of effect sizes. Obviously, there are many reasons for this discrepancy. A couple of days ago, Anne Scheel posted a very thoughtful blog post about why we should love null results. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure to do so, it is certainly worth the 10-min read. Whereas I second many of her conclusions, I don’t think having the same love for null effects that we have for significant effects will eventually help in tackling publication bias unless there will be a level playing field. Perhaps this pessimism is due to the take-home of several classics from literature classes taught back in the days in school: think of Romeo and Juliet or Intrigue and Love showing essentially that love is at times not enough to overcome a rigid system of family lineage, class, and seniority rule. Any association with academia is of course only coincidental. Continue reading “Why same love is sadly not enough: Confessions of an ECR about the file drawer”
All of our precious results deserve the same love. But it might take more than love to open a file drawer.