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Saturday, 4 June 2011
Another week, another conference submission deadline. If I seem busy at the moment, this is why. It's that time of year. Summer in academia: attending one conference whilst preparing a paper to submit in time for the next deadline.
But there's something that's started troubling me, tucked away in the carbon-copy text that always seems to accompany each call for papers:
Negative results should be submitted as short papers.
Why should the write-up of an experiment be entitled to only half the number of pages, just because it shows that something doesn't work as expected? We're scientists, aren't we? Negative results aren't bad. Indeed, you can often learn more from things that don't work. If something doesn't turn out as the theory predicted, that's probably really important to finding a better theory. It bothers me that big, important conferences are choosing to sideline the issue.