Articles | Volume 14, issue 1
Web Ecol., 14, 23–25, 2014

Special issue: AGORA: Ideas and Concepts

Web Ecol., 14, 23–25, 2014

AGORA: Ideas and Concepts 24 Jun 2014

AGORA: Ideas and Concepts | 24 Jun 2014

Meta-analyses and the "editorial love of controversy"

R. H. Heleno R. H. Heleno
  • Centre for Functional Ecology, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Calçada Martim de Freitas 3000-456, Coimbra, Portugal

Abstract. Meta-analyses are a most valuable tool to overcome the experimental constraints and often idiosyncratic responses typical in ecology. Nevertheless, competition for space in scientific journals increases editorial scrutiny, with editors frequently rejecting papers without outstanding novel results that challenge established paradigms. Whilst legitimate and generally healthy for the advance of science, this intrinsic "love of controversy" violates the independent accumulation of evidence required for conclusive meta-analyses, likely increasing the probability of false negatives and hindering our capacity to identify general rules in ecology.