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On How the JOTE Project Has Been Evolving

ByMax Bautista PerpinyaOrcID

A few months have passed since the Journal of Trial and Error’s first public appearance at the Descartes’ Christmas colloquium. Since then, we’ve had several exciting developments.

We have thought long and hard about the journal’s aim and the specifics of its content. The idea of publishing negative results, steaming from the idea that “there is a difference between what is researched and what is published”; was in its infancy at the Descartes’ colloquium. We have followed this thought and found the match between ‘negative results’ and authors: Master's students. We have also developed further the idea of the ‘reflection article’, a humanities-based approach to science in the making in which authors reflect on 'failed' research projects or publications.

We have made efforts in reaching out and discussing the idea with scientists and humanities scholars. We have been in contact with several individuals and institutions throughout Europe, including master programmes and researchers. In June 2019 we will present our idea at the Gewina (Dutch and Belgium History of Science Society) Woudschoten Conference.

Furthermore, we are excited to announce that we have been invited to give a talk and share our ideas at the LMB-GGNB student symposium in Cambridge in July 2019. LMB-GGNB stands for the two organisers: the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus; and the Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB) in Göttingen, Germany. We will be included in the ‘Global Collaborations’ session, were we aim to shed some light onto the issue of publication bias and the replication crisis as the pressing issues in scientific communication. We will propose our model of the journal as a form to alleviate and reflect on those issues.

As you can see, the different publics of these conferences are as as perhaps C.P. Snow described. And it is this gap that we aim to bridge.

And there is more exciting news: we have been accepted in the pre-incubation program of UtrechtInc Students, the incubation programme for upcoming students start-ups. Our initiative is to take our first steps to be consolidated as a formal organisation. In the following months we will further develop our business plans and marketing strategies, because good ideas need to be made public in just the right way.

Looking back, the Journal of Trial and Error has made some progress. The word is out, the website is running, researchers are interested, institutions are beginning to take a glance. Our initiative to construct a platform which remodels scholarly publication (of both science and humanities research) is optimistic and idealistic, and we are glad that we are taking our first steps into formalising this idea.