Guest blog: Time for a cultural shift?

Today’s guest blog is written by Ketan Maheshwari,
the organiser of the ERROR workshop and a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory who remains – despite his Ph.D. studies at Sophia Antipolis – a mere student of the Gallic shrug in the face of highs and lows of research.

We all have our share of screw ups and missteps – whether we admit or not. Perhaps due to lure of the “not”, many of us avoid postmortem analysis of such experiences. However, wouldn’t it be useful to analyze, in depth, about what went wrong in such research efforts?

We believe that mistakes, missteps and negative results are a norm
rather than exception in any activity pushing the boundaries of what is possible. This should be especially true in the case of eScience, as it often supports ambitious experiments with experimental tools. The efforts expended in such endeavors are equally valuable as those expended in obtaining successful results. Unfortunately, the reality of today’s culture of publication in science in general and eScience in particular heavily favors positive results.

We think it is about time to bring in a shift in the culture! In the
ERROR workshop, we call for submissions describing experiences in eScience that have led to negative results. We hope that such experiences, when shared with the community will result in a
fertile ground for many new and useful ideas that could potentially
change the face of eScience in the coming years.