You can post a preprint with negative results!

Scientific journals typically favor research results that support a stated hypothesis or establish a positive new association. This bias against negative results can skew the evidence available to the scientific community and result in duplication of research efforts, wasting time and effort. However, there’s an easy and free way to share negative results. 

Preprint servers are open to publishing many different kinds of research, and unlike many journals, this includes negative results. 

Publishing negative results can benefit the scientific community, saving time and resources for researchers who work on similar problems. They can prevent scientists from trying the same things knowing that someone else got negative results, or can allow them to optimize their methods or analyses based on someone else’s null results. 

The preprint also allows authors to report those results as part of their research productivity, as many funders and hiring committees recognize preprints as a scientific output

ASAPbio competition: Make your negative result a preprint winner

ASAPbio wants to celebrate the value of negative/null scientific results and the use of preprints to share that important work with the community. If you have posted a preprint reporting negative or inconclusive results, or are planning to post one, we want to hear from you! 

To learn more visit the ASAPbio competition website.

How to write a preprint

A preprint often resembles a scientific article that is ready to be submitted to a journal, but as long as it contains a complete description of the data, methods, and context, it can be relatively concise. There are preprints on many popular servers that have only a single figure or table.

How to post a preprint

Before preprinting, we suggest completing the following steps:

  • Get all authors on board with preprinting. Refer to the information in the Preprint Resource Center (including our Preprint FAQ) to address any questions. 
  • Choose a preprint server. Consider visibility, funder recommendations, and features like preservation and indexing, which are cataloged in the ASAPbio list of Preprint Serves.
  • Double-check journal policies on when and where preprints may be posted.
  • Choose a license.
  • Upload any code/data/reagents you want to share to appropriate repositories.
  • Post the preprint!

Share the preprint with colleagues and invite feedback via social media or email.

If you have more questions, visit the ASAPbio Preprint FAQ