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Biochem Med (Zagreb). 2017 Oct 15;27(3):030201. doi: 10.11613/BM.2017.030201.

Dealing with the positive publication bias: Why you should really publish your negative results.

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Research Integrity Editor, Biochemia Medica.
Department of Laboratory Diagnostics, University Hospital Centre Zagreb, Zagreb.
Department of Medical Laboratory Diagnostics, University Hospital Split, Split.
Clinical Institute of Laboratory Diagnostics, Clinical Hospital Center Rijeka, Rijeka.
Department of Medical Informatics, Rijeka University School of Medicine, Rijeka.


Studies with positive results are greatly more represented in literature than studies with negative results, producing so-called publication bias. This review aims to discuss occurring problems around negative results and to emphasize the importance of reporting negative results. Underreporting of negative results introduces bias into meta-analysis, which consequently misinforms researchers, doctors and policymakers. More resources are potentially wasted on already disputed research that remains unpublished and therefore unavailable to the scientific community. Ethical obligations need to be considered when reporting results of studies on human subjects as people have exposed themselves to risk with the assurance that the study is performed to benefit others. Some studies disprove the common conception that journal editors preferably publish positive findings, which are considered as more citable. Therefore, all stakeholders, but especially researchers, need to be conscious of disseminating negative and positive findings alike.


medical journals; negative results; publication bias; research integrity

Conflict of interest statement

Potential conflict of interest: None declared.

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