In science the bad results are not results, they are not published, nor part of a work, they are simply a waste of time, something which must be erased and nobody will remember. In the most common scheme scientific papers present a hypothesis which is confirmed. Experiments are a straight pathway from objectives to conclusions where diversion is inadmissible. As a result, discarding a hypothesis is really hard since many doubts are created.

Human mind has a tendency to reduce as well as simplify. Theories are created by grouping events in an artificial order which could be unreal. From a didactic point of view these schemes are essential; however, science requires moving forward. A scientist must be open-minded to unexpected; nonetheless, whatever breaks the rules is frequently discarded.

Articles about failed experiments are practically inexistent. This fact means an important waste of resources. As a consequence of this lack of shared knowledge many scientist repeat the mistakes which others did before.

Despite the fact that bad results are unattractive, they are knowledge which must be saved. Furthermore, an unexpected outcome is not always a failure. Serendipity has provided humanity with great discoveries.


This inefficient behaviour could be explained by human nature. There is an important fear to fail. For instance, in a class students are never willing to answer teacher’s questions due to the fact that they fear making mistakes. It is widely accepted that multiple choice tests where wrong answers are penalised contribute to this attitude.

Instinct of conservation could be the major reason to this human reaction.

Notwithstanding, humans can control their instincts. The capacity to overcome the fear to fail depends in the level of risk behind each situation in addition to the prices of the success, but human beings tend to focus on losses instead of gains. Among poker players the motto is ‚ÄúNothing ventured, nothing gained‚ÄĚ, albeit this idiom can be applied to real life, but common sense is required. Sometimes there is little to loss and much to gain and losses govern people‚Äôs beliefs.

Not only is courage required to succeed but also to present ‚Äúbad results‚ÄĚ. Only in this way will it be possible to increase the pace of scientific progress.