JSUR contributions cover a range of topics including but not limited to:
- Curiosities or Serendipitous Results. Papers in this category present unexpected results where the underlying mechanism is poorly understood particularly where the results are perplexing or serendipitous. These papers should provide a conjecture portion that hazard a guess for the cause of the curiosity or unexpected result. Examples of compelling curiosities papers include: showing that a known method works surprisingly well in an unintended application or discussing a perplexing yet promising initial result that deserves future study.
- Negative Results. Negative results papers present results that contradict prevailing wisdom. These papers should present evidence that a popular hypothesis or general approach is incorrect or extremely unlikely to work. Such papers should provide intuition for these shortcomings and hypothesize (or reference) methods that can potentially overcome these flaws. Examples of negative results papers include: a proof that a specific method will not work, a review of a family of methods failing on a particular class of problem, an unsuccessful method for a problem that was later solved using a alternate approach, or a plausible hypothesis shown inconsistent with rigorous experimentation.
- Follow-ups. Follow-up papers should continue the exploration of a previously published curiosity or negative result. These papers should present alternative explanations and additional evidence confirming or refuting proposed explanations. A compelling follow-up paper might provide evidence that refutes or explains a conjecture regarding an unexpected result.
- Perspectives and Reviews. Papers in this category seek to describe pitfalls and blind alleys encountered during a particular line of inquiry. These papers are meant to complement research results published in another journal or conference. They take a retrospective view of the obstacles and unexpected intermediate results encountered during the associated research. Short submissions should generally discuss one or two research projects, while full length submissions may be review or survey articles.
JSUR accepts both short and full length papers in each of the above four categories. Short papers are generally 2-4 pages long while full papers are 8-12 pages in length.
A Note on Contributions
It is important to note that from a reviewing perspective, it is difficult to distinguish truly negative, unexpected, or serendipitous results from experimental error. JSUR requires the same level of academic rigor as is expected for traditional, "positive" results. As with other high-quality journals, during the review process the authors may be solicited for additional material and/or asked clarifying questions.
Examples of JSUR Computational Sciences papers include those that show:
- A promising technique does not work as well on a problem as the state-of-the-art solution.
- For a particular task or dataset an algorithm with strong correctness or performance guarantees does not perform as well as a simple heuristic.
- A given feature set is not sufficient to separate examples in a classification task.
- Practical use of a technique brings to light a previously unknown flaw.
- Simplifying assumptions used in developing an algorithm do not hold in a real-world problem domain.
Examples of JSUR Life Sciences papers include showing that:
- A family of crystallization conditions fail to produce crystals of a target protein.
- A protein is not a member of a signaling pathway.
- A drug binds an off-target molecule.
- A specific gene is not easily expressed in a model system.