Economists have known about file drawer problems for rather a while; DeLong and Lang was on the syllabus when I was in grad school in the late '90s.
My Canterbury colleague Andrea Menclova's wished to do something about it. If papers with insignificant results get put in file drawers for want of suitable publication outlets, why not start a journal of insignificant results? She's been thinking about this one for a while; it was a not infrequent lunchroom conversation topic.
She's now blogged on it, which I'm taking as an optimistic sign that her proposed journal might actually get going. She writes:
Series of Unsurprising Results in Economics (SURE)Is the topic of your paper interesting, your analysis carefully done, but your results are not “sexy”? If so, please consider submitting your paper to SURE. An e-journal of high-quality research with “unsurprising” findings.
How does it work:
To document that your paper meets the above eligibility criteria, please send us all referee reports and letters from the editor from the journal where your paper has been rejected. Two independent referees will read these reports along with your paper and evaluate whether they indicate that:
- We accept papers from all fields of Economics…
- Which have been rejected at a journal indexed in EconLit…
- With the ONLY important reason being that their results are statistically insignificant or otherwise “unsurprising”.
Submission implies that you (the authors) give permission to the SURE editor to contact the editor of the rejecting journal regarding your manuscript.
- the paper is of high quality and
- the only important reason for rejection was the insignificant/unsurprising nature of the result
SURE benefits writers by:
SURE benefits readers by:
- Providing an outlet for interesting, high-quality, but “risky” (in terms of uncertain results) research projects;
- Decreasing incentives to data-mine, change theories and hypotheses ex post, exclusively focus on provocative topics.
Feedback is definitely invited! Please submit your comments here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mitigating the publication bias and thus complementing other journals in an effort to provide a complete account of the state of affairs;
- Serving as a repository of potential (and tentative) “dead ends” in Economics research.