The Journal of Trial & Error (JOTE) is designed to close the gap between what is published and what is researched. JOTE stands by the call for transparency of the Open Science movement and are concerned about the replicability crisis and the publication pressures that researchers face — especially junior investigators — in their pursuit of a career in science.
The Journal of Trial & Error is an initiative by the Center of Trial & Error, a non-profit organization which aims to make science better, more open, and less success-focused.
You asked, so here we have compiled a series of frequently asked questions (and answers).
We welcome articles from all the branches of research: from psychology to history, from economics to biomedical sciences.
No, we publish also the Trial and Error process of social science and humanities research. If you are in doubt about whether your research meets JOTE standards, simply send us an email.
For the upcoming issue, we don’t charge processing fees (Diamond OA). We have been funded by the Utrecht University Funds and the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science and the Humanities and will continue to work hard to acquire funding so that young researchers and those who cannot afford APCs will always be able submit to JOTE.
We assign DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) to all our articles, which allows them to be cited and found easily in databases such as Google Scholar. See for instance, https://doi.org/10.36850/e1.
Our ISSN (Online) is 2667-1204.
JOTE is and will always be an Open Access journal.
We welcome contributors from all sorts, but are currently encouraging authors in early-career stages, including late master students, PhD candidates, and post-docs.
Our editorial team assigns to each manuscript to three scientists in the appropriate field to review the content and scientific quality of the work. The reviewers treat the manuscript and scrutinise the validity of the results by the standards of the discipline and the methods used. We use a double-bind system (both authors and reviewers do not know the identities of each other until publication).
The manuscript’s quality will be evaluated based on whether the work makes a noticeable contribution to the scientific community, independently from the confirmation of the initial hypothesis.
We are committed to having a transparent and open review process. If the article is accepted, we publish the peer review together with the manuscript.
At JOTE, we publish continuously, and twice a year we release a general issue containing approximately 10 articles.
In order to reduce article-processing times (from submission until publication), we release the pieces as rolling articles as soon as they have been peer-reviewed and accepted by the editorial team. These rolling articles are in their final form and are database-searchable and citable. Once a year, we collect these and ‘bind them’ (electronically) in an issue, and each article is assigned a page number within it.
We consider Trial and Error to be inherent and indispensable in science. By Trial and Error, we mean the dynamic and collective process of learning from the ‘successes’ and ‘failures’ of research practices.
Since science is a joint endeavor, we as publishers want to encourage scientists to report and reflect on failure, both theoretical and practical.
Our journal has an innovative format based on interdisciplinary dialogue. JOTE will publish three kinds of open peer-reviewed articles as well as rejected grant applications.
With these pieces, authors illustrate conceptual developments based on empirical and experimental studies which have produced null, unexpected, negative or mixed results. JOTE also welcomes incomplete findings or those reports without a closed, cohesive narrative.
See for instance: Leboeuf, J., Linden-Andersen, S., & Carriere, J. (2020). Alcohol Cues and their Effects on Sexually Aggressive Thoughts. Journal of Trial and Error. (10.36850/e1)
For each empirical article, JOTE invites third-party researchers to reflect on and contextualise the issues raised in the original study. JOTE welcomes reflections from experience (senior researchers from the same field as the experimental paper may, for example, comment how the methodologies fit in the larger scheme of the discipline), reflection of the practices (Science and Technology Studies, Sociology of Scientific Knowledge), and reflection of the foundations (History and Philosophy of Science).
See for instance: Ruud Abma’s analysis of Leboeuf’s failed reproduction of a psychological experiment: Abma, R. (2020). Experiment and Fail. Journal of Trial and Error. (10.36850/r1)
This category of articles illustrates the pluralism of approaches in studying research itself. Meta-science, Research on Research, Science Studies, General Philosophy of Science, Science of Science – these are different independent disciplines who produce original investigations on research, “its methods, reporting, reproducibility, evaluation, and incentives.” JOTE welcomes reports of methodological challenges, suggestions, or technical flaws that carry relevant information (advice on the do’s and don’ts) for the field to which they belong. As well, we welcome studies that deal with the processes of Trial and Error at a broader level, such as on publications biases or reproducibility.
See for instance: De Groot, K. Burst Beliefs – Methodological Problems in the Balloon Analogue Risk Task and Implications for Its Use. Journal of Trial and Error. (10.36850/mr1)
JOTE welcomes all rejected grant applications for three reasons. First, they are valuable in and of themselves as pieces of preliminary research. Second, they contain metadata that catalogue the ideas, hypotheses, and theoretical perspectives within an academic field. Third, they offer historians insight into the non-linear development of scientific ideas and can therefore be used as metadata on the trends and biases in the process of awarding grants. To stimulate (comparative) research, JOTE applies a unifying template to all the grant applications. To maximise transparency, JOTE also publishes the reviewer’s comments, rebuttal, and decision without changing the content, unless the anonymity of a reviewer cannot be guaranteed.
See for instance: Bekkers, R. Global Giving. Journal of Trial and Error. (10.36850/rga2)
The Journal of Trial & Error is sustained by a nonprofit by the same name and is staffed mostly by volunteers. See our Legal Status page for more information on how we are funded and spend our money. At the time of writing (November 22nd, 2022) we are almost completely funded by Utrecht University and the University of Tilburg.
Don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]