We had the pleasure to interview last week Prof. Sebastián Cerdan in a meeting at the Andalusian Center for Nanomedicine and Biotechnology (Bionand, Spain).
ARJ: Could you please do a brief introduction of your research?
My group develops novel biomedical applications of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy. We are currently engaged in projects concerning the development of intelligent contrast agents, the implementation of advanced methods of functional imaging (Diffusion Weighted), the detection and characterization of cerebral inflammation, the diagnosis and prognosis of cancers and the implementation of new, automatic, artificial intelligence algorithms to extract relevant image features.
ARJ: What do you think of publishing negative results? How can they improve our actual scientific methods?
The scientific method does not distinguish between positive and negative results. For me they are simply results. They both serve to confirm or decline the proposed hypothesis and this is the way science advances. The distinction between positive result and negative result is often contributed by the experimentalist, based in his feelings of success or failure, but these are not scientific attitudes. I have no problem is showing negative or positive results if they contribute to the advance in knowledge.
ARJ: How does the publication of negative results benefit the scientific community?
Just as the publication of positive results does. No difference.
ARJ: Are researchers used to publish negative results? What are the reasons, from your point of view, that negative results are usually not reported (or published)?
I do not know. I am used to see papers reporting both types of results.
ARJ: What is the impact of not publishing negative results in your field and clinical research? Can it be influenced by the editors of the journal?
No, I do not think editors play any role in this. An article is good or bad based on the results, either positive or negative. Another question is the sales of the journal, but this is an economic, not scientific consideration.
ARJ: Is there a way that we can overcome the tendency for negative results to be viewed as being less useful than positive results?
I do not have the tendency to consider negative results worse than positive. Should this become an issu I would recommend better scientific education.
ARJ: How do you normally manage negative results on your lab?
Just as positive. I report both.
ARJ: We're proud to be the first TOTAL Open Access publishers (no fee to authors or readers to publish or download), what do you think are the biggest advantages of Open Access?
Probably Freedom of Mind and lack of economic burdens.
ARJ: The All Results Journals is totally open, we try to uncover the soft spots of other journals. Normally, how other journals work is by financial and economic issues all the time… but we are a non-profit organization. We want to show results that are new, helpful to scientists so they don’t waste their time repeating experiments that were already performed by another researcher. What is the main objection, from your point of view, preventing the researcher from submitting negative results?
I do not know. A hipothesis may proven or disproven by the results. Both are equally valid.
ARJ: Government Agencies (GAs) normally promotes positive results, Should they also promote the publication of negative results?
I am not sure what they promote. They should promote good science and this requires accurate results, either positive or negative.
ARJ: Thank you for your time and your valuable insights.
Prof. Sebastián Cerdan
Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas "Alberto Sols"
C/Arturo Duperier 4.
28029 Madrid. (Spain)
Interview made by Dr. David Alcantara for The All Results Journals