Friday, 11 March 2011

Publishing negative studies is good for learning

Humans learn by making mistakes. When the mistakes of others are hidden then we all have to go over the same ground to discover the errors - a waste of time, in many cases. The issue of publishing negative studies is a bit one.  When I was researching my book "Why good practice doesn't spread" I could find no-one who was prepared to share, publicly, their experience of a large scale change project that did not achieve what it set out to do. They would talk in private and anonymously - but not openly.

One of my ambitions is to start the online Journal of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Program Failures. I would love to be able to read about projects that went pear-shaped. I think I would learn more from them than from the ones which advertise greatness.

If you have ideas on what should be included in this Journal then please leave a comment on this blogpost or email me directly.

In the meantime if you want to read a few articiples and papers about the issue check out:
Increased calls for publishing negative clinical trial data
Publish or perish culture distorting research results
The importance of publishing negative results

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