We are delighted to announce that the first set of articles of the Journal of Trial and Error has been published in preprint. You can read, download, and comment on them from our interactive repository. Head to PubPub to learn more about our new environment and how we are developing an open and post-publication review.

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Our vision

In science, there is a gap between what is researched and what is published.

The Journal of Trial and Error aims to close that gap.

In scientific practice, trial and error is a fundamental process of learning and discovery. Therefore, we want to make public the lessons of the struggles in research. We are convinced about the productive role of errors, and so we aim to publish answers to the question “what went wrong?” in the form of short communications, as well as problematising this question by reflecting on what failure means in science. You can read our manifesto to learn further about our goals, and the benefits of publishing errors.

We stand by the call for transparency of the Open Science movement and are concerned about the replication crisis and the publication pressures that researchers face — especially junior investigators — in their pursuit of a career in science.

Discover why communicating your own ‘trial and error’ is beneficial for you and the academic community.

What is ‘Trial and Error’?

We envision Trial and Error as an inherent and indispensable process in science. By Trial and Error, we mean the collective process (within labs and between labs) of learning from the successes and failures of research practice.

Failure is an essential component of investigating Nature: at the edge of the unknown, we cannot expect other than making theoretical and practical errors. What is key to make failure productive, however, is to embed it within this dynamic process of Trial and Error, that is, to make failures known to other researchers in the field.

Reporting failure is essential to the community of scientists in a given discipline. Since science is a joint endeavour, we as publishers want to encourage scientists to report and reflect on failure, both theoretical and practical. 

Do you have more questions about our content, publication fees, or the breath of scope? Check our FAQ section.

The format

Our journal has an innovative format based on interdisciplinary dialogue. We will publish two kinds of articles, both peer-reviewed according to the standards of each discipline:

Short experimental communications

These pieces will show instances of the trial and error process in science. We welcome preferentially two kinds of manuscripts:

  • Conceptual developments based on negative or null results. Positive publication bias (also known as the file-drawer problem) is the tendency to submit and publish preferentially only hypothesis-confirming results. Publication bias is a serious issue in science; we belief that reporting negative results is essential and necessary (Devang Mehta, 2019, ‘Highlight negative results to improve science’, Nature Career Column).

  • Methodological challenges and suggestions, or technical flaws that carry relevant information (advice on the do’s and don’ts) for the field to which they belong.

A space for reflection

In this section, we are inviting researchers from several disciplines to reflect on one of the experimental short-communications. Issues like publication bias (the file-drawer problem) or replication crisis do not have single-layered solutions. We propose a multi-disciplinary commentary on the process of trial and error. The possibilities are varied, but we can outline some options:

  • Reflection from experience in which senior researchers on the same field as the experimental paper may, for example, comment how the methodologies fit in the larger scheme of the discipline.

  • Reflection of the practices based on a social science critique (STS, antrophology).

  • Reflection of the foundations of the given discipline (be it the philosophical foundations, or the historical tradition).

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Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.