Why We Need an Explicit Forum for Negative Results
Lutz Prechelt (Universität Karlsruhe, Germany)
Abstract: Current Computer Science (CS) research is primarily focused on solving engineering problems. Often though, promising attempts for solving a particular problem fail for non-avoidable reasons. This is what I call a negative result: something that should have worked does not. Due to the current CS publication climate such negative results today are usually camouflaged as positive results by non-evaluating or mis-evaluating the research or by redefining the problem to fit the solution.
Such publication behavior hampers progress in CS by suppressing some valuable insights, producing spurious understanding, and misleading further research efforts. Specific examples given below illustrate and back up these claims.
This paper is the announcement of a (partial) remedy: a permanent publication forum explicitly for negative CS research results, called the Forum for Negative Results, FNR. FNR will be a regular part of J.UCS.
Keywords: FNR, failures, forum, negative results, progress., research culture
Categories: A.m, B.6.3, C.1.3, I.2.6, I.2.7, K.4.m, K.7.m