Call for participants, research
Unjournal call for participants and research.
Update 7 Jul 2022: "Needs are ongoing". We have chosen people for the Founding Committee, but please complete the form anyways if you are interested. We are still very interested in people for the Advisory Board and Reviewer Pool, and also likely to expand the Founding/Management committee
Briefly: If you are interested in being on the Unjournal's Founding Committee, Advisory Board, or Reviewer Pool please fill out THIS FORM (about 3-5 min).
If you have research (your own or others) you would like us to assess, please fill out THIS FORM 1 per entry), which will also make you eligible for a bounty prize. Update 7 Jul 2022: The main prizes for piloted papers have been awarded, but we still encourage you to submit/suggest work, which will also make you eligible for future retroactive prizes/awards.

Overview and call

I am David Reinstein (Senior Economist at Rethink Priorities, following 15 years in academia) and a supporter of open science (BITSS Catalyst). I am writing with an open call for committee members, board members, reviewers, and suggestions of relevant work for a new peer-review initiative (not a publication!) called The Unjournal.
The Unjournal team is building a system for credible, public, journal-independent feedback and evaluation of research. Peer review can be slow; our system will enable researchers to get more prompt, efficient, and substantive feedback and advice, with metrics and signals of quality. The Unjournal will also help researchers advance, promote, and improve their work, while still allowing them to submit it to traditional journals at any point in the process.
Our initial focus: research relevant to global priorities, particularly in the fields of quantitative social science (including economics) and impact evaluation. We aim to encourage posting research in public, open formats, that support replicability and robustness (such as hosted dynamic documents; Quarto, Rmd, Jupyter, etc.). Rather than ‘finished frozen publications’, we wish to foster a living and continually-improved approach to research projects; we hope papers we review will be improved, extended, and may even be re-assessed in future versions.
Briefly, the Unjournal’s process (proposed and under-discussion):
  • Identify or invite contributions of relevant research that is publicly hosted on any open platform or archive in any format (we can help facilitate hosting and help you get a time-stamped DOI).
  • Pay reviewers to evaluate and give careful feedback on this work. Elicit quantifiable and comparable metrics of research quality as credible measures of value.
  • Publicly post and link all reviews of the work. Award financial prizes for work judged to be the strongest.
    • Note: We will make some clearly stated exceptions for ECRs, allowing them to hide negative reviews.
    • Note: We are likely to ask reviewers to remain anonymous (unsigned reviews), but this is under consideration
  • Aim to be as transparent as possible in these processes.
The Unjournal project has a small amount of funding and we are in a pilot phase. After our initial meeting, we are now putting out an open call for participants in three different roles:
  1. 1.
    Founding committee members (small honorariums for time spent; currently including Daniel Lakens and others),
  2. 2.
    Advisory board members (supporters, unpaid, no time-commitment), and
  3. 3.
    a pool of Reviewers (who will be paid for their time; we may draw reviewers from outside this pool, of course).
The roles are explained in more detail below and there is a form in which you will be able to express your interest.
We are also looking for high-quality, globally-pivotal research projects to evaluate, particularly those embodying open science practices and innovative formats. We are putting out an informal call for relevant research, with small bounty prizes for suggestions. You can suggest your own work, or other authors or projects. For details of the prizes, what we are looking for, and some examples, see this post, and accompanying links.

Roles

Founding committee members activities will involve:
  • Working with other founding committee members on a set of rules and guidelines. E.g., ‘which metrics to evaluate research’, ‘how to publish the assessments’.
  • Helping plan the Unjournal’s future path.
  • If your time and funding permits, helping manage ‘which research to focus on’, assigning reviewers, and awarding prizes (we will try to keep this responsibility light).
Time commitment: Minimum of 5-10 hours total over the next 9 months, plus editorial activities (perhaps a few hours per month, as available and as needed).
Compensation: We have funding for a $50 per hour honorarium for the first 5-10 hours; we are seeking further funding.
All applicants are welcome. We are interested in people with a range of experiences and skills, including in global priorities research and related fields, other academic research, policy research and practice, open science and meta-science, and bibliometrics and scholarly publishing. Individuals with a solid interest in the Unjournal project and its goals, and who are able to meet the (minimal) time commitment, would be a great fit. Note that applying is extremely quick, and if you are not chosen, we will consider you for other roles and work going forward.
Advisory board members: As well as this role, we are seeking to build a larger, more passive advisory board, to offer very light touch guidance. Being a member of this board brings no time obligation, but you may occasionally be consulted. We are looking for active researchers, practitioners, and stakeholders with a strong publication record who are affiliated with an academic, governmental or relevant non-profit institution.
Reviewers: We will reach out to reviewers on a case-by-case basis, appropriate for each paper/project being assessed (expertise, interest, lack of COI). However, we are also putting together a list of people interested in being a reviewer and doing paid referee work for the Unjournal - these will often be the first people we look to when considering potential reviewers. The compensation will be $250 per review, with some additional funding for ‘best-reviewer’ prizes. Again, we hope to be able to increase these amounts as funding permits.

Projects and papers

Once again, we are very interested in finding relevant research work to evaluate and assess during this pilot phase, and we are offering small bounties. You may also want to put forward your own work.
We provide a separate form for research suggestions HERE; we may follow up with you individually.

Form to fill out, contact

If you are interested in discussing any of this in person, please email us (dreinstein at rethinkpriorities.org) to arrange a conversation.
We invite you to fill in this form to leave your contact information and details, as well as outlining which parts of the project you may be interested in.