The Null Hypothesis



Most scientific journals are prejudiced against papers that demonstrate support for null hypotheses and are unlikely to publish such papers and articles. This phenomenon leads to selective publishing of papers and ensures that the portion of articles that do get published is unrepresentative of the total research in the field.


Anderson, D. R., Burnham, K. P., & Thompson, W. L. (2000). Null hypothesis testing: problems, prevalence, and an alternative. The journal of wildlife management, 912-923.

Benjamini, Y., & Hochberg, Y. (1995). Controlling the false discovery rate: a practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. Journal of the royal statistical society. Series B (Methodological), 289-300.

Berger, J. O., & Sellke, T. (1987). Testing a point null hypothesis: The irreconcilability of p values and evidence. Journal of the American statistical Association, 82(397), 112-122.

Blackwelder, W. C. (1982). “Proving the null hypothesis” in clinical trials. Controlled clinical trials, 3(4), 345-353.

Dirnagl, U. (2010). Fighting publication bias: introducing the Negative Results section. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism: official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 30(7), 1263.

Dickersin, K., Chan, S. S., Chalmersx, T. C., Sacks, H. S., & Smith, H. (1987). Publication bias and clinical trials. Controlled clinical trials, 8(4), 343-353.

Efron, B. (2004). Large-scale simultaneous hypothesis testing: the choice of a null hypothesis. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 99(465), 96-104.

Fanelli, D. (2010). Do pressures to publish increase scientists’ bias? An empirical support from US States Data. PloS one, 5(4), e10271.

Fanelli, D. (2011). Negative results are disappearing from most disciplines and countries. Scientometrics, 90(3), 891-904.

Greenwald, A. G. (1975). Consequences of Prejudice Against the Null Hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 82(1).

Hubbard, R., & Armstrong, J. S. (1997). Publication bias against null results. Psychological Reports, 80(1), 337-338.

I’ve Got Your Impact Factor Right Here (Science, February 24, 2012)

Johnson, R. T., & Dickersin, K. (2007). Publication bias against negative results from clinical trials: three of the seven deadly sins. Nature Clinical Practice Neurology, 3(11), 590-591.

Keep negativity out of politics. We need more of it in journals (STAT, October 14, 2016)

Knight, J. (2003). Negative results: Null and void. Nature, 422(6932), 554-555.

Koren, G., & Klein, N. (1991). Bias against negative studies in newspaper reports of medical research. Jama, 266(13), 1824-1826.

Koren, G., Shear, H., Graham, K., & Einarson, T. (1989). Bias against the null hypothesis: the reproductive hazards of cocaine. The Lancet, 334(8677), 1440-1442.

Mahoney, M. J. (1977). Publication prejudices: An experimental study of confirmatory bias in the peer review system. Cognitive therapy and research, 1(2), 161-175.

Matosin, N., Frank, E., Engel, M., Lum, J. S., & Newell, K. A. (2014). Negativity towards negative results: a discussion of the disconnect between scientific worth and scientific culture.

Nickerson, R. S. (2000). Null hypothesis significance testing: a review of an old and continuing controversy. Psychological methods, 5(2), 241.

No result is worthless: the value of negative results in science (BioMed Central, October 10, 2012)

Negative Results: The Dark Matter of Research (American Journal Experts)

Neil Malhotra: Why No News Is Still Important News in Research (Stanford Graduate School of Business, October 27, 2014)

Null Hypothesis Definition and Example (Statistics How To, November 5, 2012)

Null Hypothesis (H0) (UC Davis)

Null Hypothesis Glossary Definition (Statlect Digital Textbook)

Opinion: Publish Negative Results (The Scientist, January 15, 2013)

Positives in negative results: when finding ‘nothing’ means something (The Conversation, September 24, 2014)

Rouder, J. N., Speckman, P. L., Sun, D., Morey, R. D., & Iverson, G. (2009). Bayesian t tests for accepting and rejecting the null hypothesis. Psychonomic bulletin & review, 16(2), 225-237.

Unknown Unknowns: The War on Null and Negative Results (social science space, September 19, 2014)

Valuing Null and Negative Results in Scientific Publishing (Scholastica, November 4, 2015)

Vasilev, M. R. (2013). Negative results in European psychology journals. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 9(4), 717-730

Where have all the negative results gone? (, December 4, 2013)

Where to publish negative results (BitesizeBio, November 27, 2013)

Why it’s time to publish research “failures” (Elsevier, May 5, 2015)

Woolson, R. F., & Kleinman, J. C. (1989). Perspectives on statistical significance testing. Annual review of public health, 10(1), 423-440.

Would you publish your negative results? If no, why? (ResearchGate, October 26, 2012)

BPS invites readers to send (to relevant papers and links to add to this website.