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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 and many more. Incidentally, all these journals publish Open Access (see also our Open Access Publication Fund).

Information for your application

  • The QUEST center is offering this award of 1,000 € to first/last/corresponding BIH or Charité authors (and employees) of studies where the main result is a NULL or "negative" result.
  • Papers published from 2017 onwards are accepted.
  • Prizes can be spent until the end of 2024. Awards are given on an ongoing basis.
  • Only one QUEST Prize can be awarded per publication.
  • Authors can apply (with different publications) only once per year per prize (i.e. maximum 5 prizes per year per author).
  • Publications of authors (independent of the author´s position) which are also QUEST employees cannot be considered.
  • Awardees will be featured on the QUEST web pages.

To apply for the award, please fill out the registration form that you can find here

Awarded publications

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