The mission of the new Journal of Spurious Correlations is, apparently, to deal with the “file drawer effect” in social science research, i.e., the tendency for journals to publish studies that find significant relationships rather than those that do not. Publication decisions may be biased in favor of the 5% of studies that show relationships purely as a result of chance and against the 95% of studies that show no relationships. These latter studies end up filed away and forgotten, thereby distorting our knowledge of the true relationships.
The “manifesto” of the Journal is as follows:
A group of social scientists in Europe and the
US has established a new journal of negative and unpublishable results in the social sciences. The mission of The Journal of Spurious Correlations (JSpurC) is to provide a legitimate venue for exploring pure and applied methodological questions in the social sciences in the company of colleagues without fear of professional embarrassment or reprisal. While a number of the present organizers are political scientists, such an initiative may be relevant to other social science disciplines as well, and to a range of methodological approaches beyond the ‘quantitative.’
The reason for the special emphasis on embarrassment and reprisal is somewhat surprising to me, if the goal is simply to provide a venue for studies that fail to confirm the relationships found in other studies. Perhaps more people than I thought take a failure to replicate their results very personally. The first issue is scheduled for this year.