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Cambridge journal aims for 'radical new approach'

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A journal from Cambridge University Press (CUP) is aiming for a 'radical new approach' to both publishing and peer reviewing research.

Experimental Results aims to tackle the crisis in the reproducibility of results, to provide an outlet for standalone research that currently goes unpublished – and to make peer review faster, less onerous and more transparent.

Submissions are open for the journal, which will give researchers a place to publish valid, standalone results, regardless of whether those results are novel, inconclusive, negative or supplementary to other published work.

It will also publish the outcome of attempts to reproduce previously published experiments, including those that dispute past findings.

The publication is the brainchild of Fiona Hutton, CUP's head of STM open access publishing.

She said: 'Scholarly communication isn’t really reflective of the research process, because the focus is on publishing a concise narrative. The reality is that research results are often confusing, inconclusive, or don’t fit a narrative. Discovery is damaged when the focus becomes the research paper rather than the research output itself.

'I've had countless conversations with scientists about the value of publishing all valid experiments, not just those that fit the narrative of a particular paper or which are deemed to have a high impact. It would save so much time if researchers could see that a particular experiment had already been carried out and what the results were.

'Openly available raw results for these experiments could also be used and interrogated in different ways; ways that the original researcher did not identify, further facilitating discovery and justifying investment in that research.'

In addition, Experimental Results is aimed at 'shaking up peer review', introducing scorecards to make the process easier, more open and more attractive to potential reviewers, with each reviewer identified by name and with each review published alongside the article in question with its own DOI.

This will allow the journal’s reviewers to have their work recognised. They will also be given discounts on the cost of publishing their own articles in Experimental Results.

Hutton added: 'Our goal is to be progressive, to ensure research outputs are correctly reviewed, and to ensure the reviewers we rely on so heavily are rewarded. This makes sense, much like the journal itself makes sense in its reflection of the actual research process.'

The journal will be fully open access, assessed through open peer review, and linked to open data where possible.

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