Researchers share the results of their works with colleagues and the public in a variety of ways. Early results are usually shared during laboratory meetings, in seminars, and at professional meetings. Final results are usually communicated to others through scholarly articles and books. Public communication takes place through press releases, public announcements, newspaper articles, and public testimony. Some of these ways of communicating research results (i.e., of publication) are well structured and controlled; others are informal and have few controls.
Whether structured or informal, controlled or free ranging, responsible publication in research should ideally meet some minimum standards. All forms of publication should present:
- a full and fair description of the work undertaken
- an accurate report of the results
- an honest and open assessment of the findings
In assessing the completeness of any publications, researchers should ask whether they have described:
- what they did (methods)
- what they discovered (results)
- what they make of their discovery (discussion)
It is, however, not as easy as one might anticipate to meet these expectations.