A new platform to bring the Dark Science back to the bright side

Hi all,

My name is Bastien. I am the co-founder of an initiative called In&Vertebrates that Gavin and Enrico encouraged me to present in this friendly community.

@Gavin, @Enrico.Fucci, thanks for giving me this opportunity. I hope our initiative will tickle people’s curiosity and that some of you might be interested in knowing more.

At In&Vertebrates, one of our challenges is to end (or at least reduce) the waste of scientific knowledge (mostly known as the file drawer effect, Rosenthal, 1979 or Dark Science as we like to call it) produced across decades of experimentation in life sciences.

As there are many constraints to disseminate the Dark Science today, we designed a transparent format of publications with few limitations: the DarkPaper. We hope it will allow researchers to publish quickly the studies remaining in their drawers. Among others, the DarkPapers will give a proper place to the negative results, replicas, unfinished and non-working studies and as many other kinds of studies which are not judged ‘exciting enough’ by most publishing leaders.

For the DarkPapers, cooperation is vital. Therefore, we are building a new type of platform where researchers can collaborate on the DarkPapers (comments, suggestions, etc.). One of the nice features of a DarkPaper is that it won’t be crystallised in time as it can evolve throughout online discussions and a new open and transparent peer-reviewing system (which we are developing as I am writing this post). Using our platform, everybody can see the progress and changes made to a Darkpaper across time.

I hope you’ll like this approach and the way we want to bring the Dark Science back to life.

Our website explains our project and goals broadly. You can visit it at the following address if you are interested: https://inandvertebrates.com

Feedbacks are always welcome! Besides, we are always looking to partner up with institutions or initiatives which value and assess researchers going toward more transparency, openness practices and care about scientists wellbeing such as IGDORE.

So, if you are aware of some that might be interested in our action, let me know.

We are trying to keep people up to date as much as we can via our social networks, so don’t hesitate to follow us if you are interested.

If you have questions or want to discuss our initiative further, I will be delighted to do so.

You can also reach out with me by email if you prefer (bastien.lemaire@inandvertebrates.com).

Kind regards, Bastien


Welcome to the forum, @bastien.lemaire!

This looks like a very interesting initiative. Are you familiar with the journal Meta-Psychology (ping editor @rickcarlsson)? They publish file drawer papers as well as original papers.

1 Like

Thanks! I have heard about Meta-Psychology only recently, really well done. Actually, I remember noticing several similarities between their publication process and what we want to implement for the file drawer papers (or DarkPapers).

1 Like

Hi @bastien.lemaire, nice to see you on the forum :wave:

DarkPapers will give a proper place to the negative results, replicas, unfinished and non-working studies

One of the nice features of a DarkPaper is that it won’t be crystallised in time as it can evolve throughout online discussions and a new open and transparent peer-reviewing system

I think these two features combined together could be really valuable. I can imagine that many DarkPapers will contain results that aren’t considered important by the original authors but end up being quite useful to other researchers. Would those later researchers have any options to build on the original DarkPaper? Or would they be limited to leaving comments/discussion?

1 Like

Hi @Gavin,

Our hope is actually that researchers can build their research based on the top of DarkPapers that have been useful to them. Potentially, even start a collaboration with the original authors on the topic. That would be great and for this reason, we’ll try to make our platform as collaborative as possible.

1 Like

i have many dark papers. so do my colleagues. will share this with them. :slight_smile:


Great! Thanks :slight_smile:

So what types of dark papers would I be able to submit @bastien.lemaire? Like @surya I have quite a bit of dark materials (dark matter?) in my file drawers!

For instance, I have two thesis chapters that I never got around to publishing (although they are accessible in my thesis full-text on research gate) - could I just submit them as they are? Should I try to dig up the data and code for them as well? In principle these are almost ready papers, but I no-longer have any strong incentive to push them through the full publication processes.

What about less polished research artifacts. For instance, I have image data that I never got around to analysing in my last post-doc (similar to this and this). I could upload it to a data repository with minimal annotations, but ideally, it would be good to attach some more comments: methods, the original goals and some background etc. The only formal way to do this at the moment seems to be with a data paper, but again, I don’t have a strong incentive to go through the publication processes.

Hi @Gavin, sorry for the late answer. I’ve been on the road in the last few days.

They are so many kinds of experiments in researchers drawers that we designed the DarkPaper format to be flexible and with fewer possible editorial constraints.

Therefore, it will be possible for you to publish your thesis chapters as well as less polished research artefacts if you pass the DarkPaper process, which is composed of the following stages:

  • provide a summary of your DarkPaper to tell the readers what your work is about and potentially what you’re expecting from it (if it is the case). Thus, readers will get a caption of your DarkPaper and might provide you with whatever might be helpful to you or the community in general.
  • go through our submission process (upload the DarkPaper and provides all the required information, it is really fast)
  • and wait for our quality check (summary check, anti-plagiarism, etc.).

If you have passed all that problems free, your DarkPaper will be made available to the community and will be ready for people to comment or review (using an open reviewing tool which we are building at the moment).

Once our services are fully operational, it will be possible for you to re-edit your DarkPaper directly online depending on the feedback you got from the community.

1 Like