Sep 12, 2014

Interview with Dr. Homa Sadeghian

It is a pleasure for us to interview Dr. Homa Sadeghian, researcher at Neurovascular Research Laboratory Department at Massachusetts General Hospital (Massachusetts, Boston).

ARJ: Could you please do a brief introduction of your research?

My name is Homa Sadeghian. I graduated from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran. During medical school, I focused on the field of neuroscience as a young researcher in the Neuroscience Research Center. Following graduation, I was awarded a research fellowship grant from the International Headache Society (IHS) to study the spreading depression‐induced neuropathological changes in migraine mutant mice. Inspired by my previous experience in the field of neuroscience and my passion for translating fundamental aspects of neuroscience into human neurological disease for improving and changing current diagnostic approaches, I joined the Neurovascular Research Laboratory Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, the teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

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?

Total Open Access publishers help to return academic research to its original drive: to spread knowledge and allow that knowledge to be built upon. Price barricades prevent young scientists from getting access to publications they need. Open Access and the open availability and searchability of academic research will have a significant positive impact on education as well as the practice in medicine.

ARJ: What is your opinion about publication bias? What do you think is it due to?

Publication bias arises when results of published investigation are methodically different from results of unpublished investigation. We can measure publication bias by paralleling the results of published and unpublished investigation referring the same issue. Publication bias may be reduced by journals by publishing high-quality studies regardless of novelty results and by publishing protocols or full-study data sets.

ARJ: What do you think is the impact of not publishing negative results in your field and clinical research? Can it be influenced by the editors of the journal?

Articles available in ordinary journals normally provide inadequate confirmation regarding negative data. They hardly allow a demanding assessment of the quality of these results. In addition, provocative results that contradict a current model or simply negative results within a current belief frequently meet substantial resistance before they are acknowledged. No single step can fully overwhelm the complex actions engaged in resistance to publish negative results, and a multi-approach is required by researchers, journal editors, peer reviewers, research sponsors, and research ethics committees.

ARJ: In your opinion, what is the main objection preventing the researcher from submitting negative results?

There could be several reasons: First of all, the researchers themselves might feel that their results are not admirable enough to be published. Secondly, trying to publish negative results is a really difficult responsibility. The reason, therefore, could be that scholarly journals are not even respecting these negative results because the editorial boards don’t think these data are relevant or reviewers reject these findings because of the lack of positive results. Last but not least, specific journals like The All Results Journals (ARJ) are not famous enough, and the researchers are approaching wrong journals for their data.

ARJ: How do you usually manage negative results in your lab?

In general, the researcher is following a hypothesis which he or she believes has a possibility of occurring. Based on my own experience, in some cases, this is not necessarily what will happen at the end of the study; it is more or less an unpredicted surprise for the investigator themselves as well as the whole research group. A certain percentage of these unpredicted results are negative results, which explanation might be problematic. Uncertainties about the setting, methodology, and expected results arise. In my view, if negative results are really approved, it is more important to report these data to the scientific community so that we can learn for future research in medical treatment.

ARJ: What do you think about The All Results Journals and their scope?

Obtaining a negative result is not a breakdown in science. It is a discovery. Getting a positive result by distorting results, engineering data, and ignoring confounding variables is a failure, and The All Results Journals help scientists to publish their “true” results.

ARJ: Did you ever think about publishing your negative results?

Publishing a good paper is not a straightforward trail; it is a time and resource-consuming process including observations, design, experiments, analysis, writing up a manuscript, and enduring the revision process. But behind a worthy paper, there is often a body of work based on the experience of negative results that will be neglected. It might be a good practice to illustrate and write up those experiments that failed or produced a negative result in a supplementary material.

ARJ: How would you convince all those authors who are against the publication of negative results?

Many of my colleagues are very surprised to hear about the existence of a negative journal, as most of them have also produced negative results and did not publish them. Therefore, in my opinion, the willingness is there, but there is also frustration.

ARJ: Thank you so much for your valuable collaboration with The All Results Journals Blog

Interview made by Dra. Belén Suárez  for The All Results Journals

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