Continuous reproduction of the same unpublished failures is one of the most deleterious phenomena of research communities. It's tightly connected to bias towards publishing only positive results. Being careful not to show any mistakes and/or possible future projects and giving hints of one's research interests may give a secure feeling but will lead to waste of time on community level. On the other hand, as having lots of good ideas is necessary for a good scientist and most of the ideas are not so good, there are always lots of ideas that didn't work out. However, ideas that didn't work for you might be viable seeds for thoughts of another scientist and having somebody else to think it may lead to necessary development of the idea.
Let's begin to be the change everyone is claiming to be important, but nobody is carrying out! Please support the community by releasing your hidden knowledge and resources.
These can include ideas that you never developed further and probably lost your interest, unpublished projects and associated knowledge that you will not work on anymore, failed projects that you don't want anyone to recreate, possible unpublished data, knockouts, materials and experiences from published projects and so on. When publishing this kind of information try to be as helpful to others as possible. Indicate clearly the most challenging steps, possible weak parts of experimental designs, the failures you made and important things you learned, so that somebody else can learn from your unpublished experience and in best case, develop the project further and complete it with success.
In case of developing abandoned projects further, please contact the original designer of the project and suggest collaboration, to enhance openness, good communication and fruitful collaboration within the community.
Send your experiences to petteri.karisto (at) usys.ethz.ch to have them published here.
List of items
Strain specific primers for four strains