The QUEST 1,000 € NULL results and Replication study Award

Publish your NULL results – Fight the negative publication bias!

Publish your Replication Study – Fight the replication crises!


Traditionally there is a strong bias against results that did not confirm or support the hypothesis researchers set out to test. Such results are called NULL results (as the Null hypothesis was not rejected), and rarely get published (‘file drawer phenomenon’) and are therefore lost to the scientific community. NULL results of well performed studies are important for many reasons. Due to the current bias towards ‘positive results’ aggregation of the available literature in systematic reviews overestimate the efficacy of drugs or effect sizes of biological phenomena. Knowing about ‘blind alleys’ and ‘dead ends’ may prevent others from repeating experiments unnecessarily. And surprising to many, NULL results are more informative than ‘positive’ results. Their positive and negative predictive values are much higher than those of results that support our hypotheses (for details see here, and here).


Until a decade ago or so it was almost impossible to publish NULL results, unless they refuted a spectacular claim. Fortunately, this has changed, and numerous journals now publish results of sound studies regardless of their outcome (negative, inconclusive), such as F1000Res, PeerJ, PlosONE, J Neg Res Biomed, and many more. Incidentally, all these journals publish Open Access (see also our Open Access Publication Fund).

Reproducibility is fundamental to scientific Progress (see also Statement of the German Research Foundation). Unfortunately, the replication of studies carries little prestige in academic research. Only recently have systematic replication studies demonstrated that current biomedicine has a serious replication problem, which led to the declaration of a reproducibility crisis. We need more systematic replication efforts of high quality, regardless of their outcome.


QUEST is giving away 15 awards of 1,000 € to first/last/corresponding authors (BIH, MDC or Charité affiliation) of preclinical or clinical research papers in which the main result is a NULL or ‘negative’ or in which the replication of own results or the results of others is attempted. Papers must have been published 2016 onwards.

The award (travel costs or consumables) will be administered through MDC or Charité and can be used until the end of 2018. Awards are given on an ongoing basis. Awardees will be featured on the QUEST web pages.

To claim your award, send an email with a short statement and the publication to

Publications of authors (independent of the author´s position) which are also QUEST employees cannot be considered.

Each researcher may apply to every call only once.