Plan of action

Building a 'best feasible plan'...
What is this Unjournal?... See: In a nutshell
  1. 1.
    We actually 'do something'
  2. 2.
    We can provide credible reviews and ratings that have value as measures of research quality comparable to (or better than) traditional journal systems
  3. 3.
    We identify important work that informs global priorities
  4. 4.
    We boost work in innovative and transparent/replicable formats (especially dynamic documents)
  5. 5.
    Authors engage with our process and find it useful
  6. 6.
    (As a push) Universities, grantmakers, and other arbiters assign value to Unjournal ratings
Updated: Partial update 10 Dec 2022.

Building research 'unjournal'

Setup and team

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Define the broad scope of our research interest and key overriding principles. Light-touch, to also be attractive to aligned academics
Build "editorial-board-like" teams with subject/area expertise
Status: Mostly completed/decided for pilot phase

Create a set of rules for 'submission and management'

  • Which projects enter the review system (relevance, minimal quality, stakeholders, any red lines or 'musts')
  • how projects are to be submitted
  • how reviewers are to be assigned and compensated
Status: Mostly completed/decided for pilot phase; will review after initial trial

Rules for reviews/assessments

  • To be done on the chosen open platform (Kotahi/Sciety) unless otherwise infeasible. 10 Dec 2022 update
  • Share, advertise, promote this, have efficient meetings and presentations
    • Establish links to all open-access bibliometric initiatives (to the extent feasible)
  • Harness and encourage additional tools for quality assessment, considering cross-links to prediction markets/Metaculus, to coin-based 'ResearchHub', etc.
Status: Mostly completed/decided for pilot phase; will review after the initial trial

Further steps

The key elements of the plan:
Build a ‘founding committee’ of 5-8 experienced and enthusiastic EA-aligned/adjacent researchers at EA orgs, research academics, and practitioners (e.g., draw from speakers at recent EA Global meetings).
  1. 1.
    Host a meeting (and shared collaboration space/document), to come to a consensus/set of practical principles
  2. 2.
    Post and present our consensus (coming out of this meeting) on key fora. After a brief ‘followup period’ (~1 week), consider adjusting the above consensus plan in light of the feedback, and repost (and move forward).
  3. 3.
    Set up the basic platforms for posting and administering reviews and evaluations and offering curated links and categorizations of papers and projects. Note: I am strongly leaning towards https://prereview.org/ as the main platform, which has indicated willingness to give us a flexible ‘experimental space’ Update: Kotahi/Sciety seems a more flexible solution
  4. 4.
    Reach out to researchers in relevant areas and organizations and ask them to 'submit' their work for 'feedback and potential positive evaluations and recognition', and for a chance at a prize. The Unjournal will not be an exclusive outlet. Researchers are free to also submit the same work to 'traditional journals' at any point. Their work must be publicly hosted, with a DOI. Ideally the 'whole project' is maintained and updated, with all materials, in a single location. 21 Sep 2022 status: 1-3 mostly completed. We have a good working and management group. We decided a platform and we're configuring it, and we have an interim workaround. We've reached out to researchers/orgs and got some good responses, but we need to find more platforms to disseminate and advertise this. We've identified and are engaging with 4 papers for the initial piloting. We aim to put out a larger prize-driven call soon and intake about 10 more papers/projects.
The approach below is largely integrated into the Unjournal proposal, but this is a suggestion for how organizations like RP might consider 'how to get feedback and boost credibility
  1. 1.
    Host article (or dynamic research project or 'registered report') on OSF or other place allowing time stamping & DOIs (see my resources list in Airtable for a start)
  2. 2.
    Link this to PREreview (or similar tool) tools/sites soliciting feedback and evaluation without requiring exclusive publication rights... (again, see Airtable list)
  3. 3.
    Directly solicit feedback from EA-adjacent partners in academia and other EA-research orgs
  • We need to build our own systems (assign ‘editors') to do this without bias and with incentives
  • building standard metrics for interpreting these reviews (possibly incorporating prediction markets,
  • encouraging them to leave their feedback through the PREreview or another platform.
Also: Committing to publish academic reviews or ‘share in our internal group’ for further evaluation and reassessment/benchmarking of the ‘PREreview’ type reviews above. (Perhaps taking the FreeOurKnowledge pledge relating to this)