JOTE | Journal of Trial and Error

The opening issue has arrived.

Read it here, engage with the community on the interactive repository.

What is JOTE?

JOTE is a journal dedicated to making public the lessons of the struggles in research.

In science and scholarship, trial and error is a fundamental process of learning and discovery. We are convinced about the productive role of errors, and so JOTE publishes answers to the question “what went wrong?” in the form of short communications, as well as problematising ‘the question of failure’, facilitating reflections and discussion on what failure means in research.

JOTE stands 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 academia.

What is ‘Trial and Error’?

JOTE envisions ‘Trial and Error’ as an inherent process of research. It is the collective process of learning from the successes and failures.

Failure is an essential component of investigating: at the edge 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.

Since research is a joint endeavour, JOTE, as a publisher, wants to encourage scientists to report and reflect on failure, both from theoretical and practical stances.

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The format

JOTE publishes three formats, two of them in interdisciplinary dialogue.

Empirical Articles

With these pieces, authors illustrate conceptual developments based on empirical and experimental studies which have produced null, unexpected, negative or mixed results. JOTE also welcomes incomplete findings or those reports without a closed, cohesive narrative.

See for instance:
Leboeuf, J., Linden-Andersen, S., & Carriere, J. (2020). Alcohol Cues and their Effects on Sexually Aggressive Thoughts. Journal of Trial and Error. (10.36850/e1)

Reflection Articles

For each empirical article, JOTE invites third-party researchers to reflect on and contextualise the issues raised in the original study. JOTE welcomes reflections from experience (senior researchers from 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 (Science and Technology Studies, Sociology of Scientific Knowledge), and reflection of the foundations (History and Philosophy of Science).

See for instance:
Ruud Abma’s analysis of Leboeuf’s failed reproduction of a psychological experiment: Abma, R. (2020). Experiment and Fail. Journal of Trial and Error. (10.36850/r1)

Meta-Research Articles

This category of articles illustrates the pluralism of approaches in studying research itself. Meta-science, Research on Research, Science Studies, General Philosophy of Science, Science of Science – these are different independent disciplines who produce original investigations on research, “its methods, reporting, reproducibility, evaluation, and incentives.” JOTE welcomes reports of methodological challenges, suggestions, or technical flaws that carry relevant information (advice on the do’s and don’ts) for the field to which they belong. As well, we welcome studies that deal with the processes of Trial and Error at a broader level, such as on publications biases or reproducibility.

See for instance:
Kristel de Groot’s study of the BART method, where she points to its shortcomings, as well as proposing suggestions for change. De Groot, K. (upcoming, in production). Burst Beliefs – Methodological Problems in the Balloon Analogue Risk Task and Implications for Its Use. Journal of Trial and Error (10.36850/mr1).

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