The “Unjournal” will organize and fund ‘public journal-independent evaluation’ of EA-relevant/adjacent research, encouraging this research by making it easier for academics and EA-organization researchers to get feedback and credible ratings.
Why is this important?
Peer review is great, but academic publication processes are wasteful, slow, rent-extracting, encourage rent-seeking, and discourage innovation.
Academic publishers extract rents and discourage progress. But there is a coordination problem in ‘escaping’ this. Funders like Open Philanthropy and EA-affiliated researchers are not stuck, we can facilitate an exit.
The traditional binary ‘publish or reject’ system wastes resources (wasted effort and gamesmanship) and adds unnecessary risk. I propose an alternative, the “Evaluated Project Repo”: a system of credible evaluations, ratings, and published reviews (linked to an open research archive/curation). This will also enable more readable, reliable, and replicable research formats, such as dynamic documents; and allow research projects to continue to improve without “paper bloat”. (I also propose some ‘escape bridges’ from the current system.)
Global priorities and EA research organizations are looking for ‘feedback and quality control’, dissemination, and external credibility. We would gain substantial benefits from supporting, and working with the Evaluated Project Repo (or with related peer-evaluation systems), rather than (only) submitting our work to traditional journals. We should also put some direct value on results of open science and open access, and the strong impact we may have in supporting this.