Worldwide unique science journal published by Mainz postgraduates wins "University Pearl" award

The Mainz "Journal of Unsolved Questions" has been named "University Pearl of the Month" for April 2011 by the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany


Doctoral candidates at the "Materials Science in Mainz" Graduate School of Excellence at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have been producing and publishing the Journal of Unsolved Questions (JUnQ) since the beginning of 2011. The journal publishes articles on research projects based on experimental concepts that did not work out or that produced data with which did not allow to draw satisfactory conclusions or any conclusion at all, while also reporting on on-going studies that seem to be throwing up more questions than they answer. This worldwide unique idea has now been honored as the April 2011 "University Pearl of the Month" by the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany.

Before any ground-breaking research results are obtained, there are invariably numerous scientific trials of hypotheses that turn out, during the course of experimentation, to be false. Although these negative research results are of prime importance when in comes to gaining insight into science, they are neither perceived nor acknowledged by the public and are largely also ignored within professional circles. "The Mainz Journal of Unsolved Questions takes an exemplary stance in order to enhance awareness of research methods, demonstrating in a very original way that failure is part of science," explains the Donors' Association jury when explaining its choice.

The next Journal of Unsolved Questions will appear on 1 July 2011. The articles are selected by means of a so-called peer review process that is standard practice for specialist journals.

What is a University Pearl?

University Pearls (or "Hochschulperlen" in German) are innovative model projects that are carried out at universities. As they are not major projects, they remain largely unacknowledged outside the university environment but because they gleam and glitter just like pearls, they in effect set standards for other universities. Each month, the Donors' Association profiles a selected University Pearl and one of these will be named University Pearl for 2011.