The Journal of Trial and Error is designed to close the gap between what is published and what is researched. We stand by the call for transparency of the Open Science movement and are concerned about the replicability crisis and the publication pressures that researchers face — especially junior investigators — in their pursuit of a career in science.

Here we have compiled a series of frequently asked questions.

What is the scope of our journal?

We welcome articles from all the branches of research: from psychology to history, from economics to biomedical sciences.

So, do you publish only ‘scientific’ articles?

No, we publish also the Trial and Error process of social science and humanities research. If you are in doubt about whether your research meets JOTE standards, simply send us an email.

What are the APCs (article-processing fees)?

For the upcoming issue, we don’t charge processing fees (Diamond OA). We have been funded by the Utrecht University Funds and the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science and the Humanities and will continue to work hard to acquire funding so that young researchers and those who cannot afford APCs will always be able submit to JOTE.

How is JOTE indexed? Are the articles searchable in databases like Google Scholar?

We assign DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) to all our articles, which allows them to be cited and found easily in databases such as Google Scholar. See for instance, https://doi.org/10.36850/e1. Our ISSN (Online) is 2667-1204.

What are the subscription costs?

JOTE is and will always be an Open Access journal.

Who can contribute?

We welcome contributors from all sorts, but are currently encouraging authors in early-career stages, including late master students, PhD candidates, and post-docs. 

Who reviews the manuscripts that we receive (peer-review)?

Our editorial team assigns to each manuscript to three scientists in the appropriate field to review the content and scientific quality of the work. The reviewers treat the manuscript and scrutinise the validity of the results by the standards of the discipline and the methods used. We use a double-bind system (both authors and reviewers do not know the identities of each other until publication).

The manuscript’s quality will be evaluated based on whether the work makes a noticeable contribution to the scientific community, independently from the confirmation of the initial hypothesis.

We are committed to having a transparent and open review process. If the article is accepted, we publish the peer review together with the manuscript.

How often does JOTE publish? What are rolling articles?

At JOTE, we publish continuously, and once a year we release a general issue containing approximately 20 articles.

In order to reduce article-processing times (from submission until publication), we release the pieces as rolling articles on our interactive repository as soon as they have been peer-reviewed and accepted by the editorial team. These rolling articles are in their final form and are database-searchable and citable. Once a year, we collect these and ‘bind them’ (electronically) in an issue, and each article is assigned a page number within it.

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What kind of content do we publish?

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).

What do we mean by ‘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, we as publishers want to encourage scientists to report and reflect on failure, both from theoretical and practical stances.

Do you have any more questions?

Don’t hesitate to contact us at jtrialerror@uu.nl.