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We want to keep the community informed of our progress and the steps we are considering next. We want your feedback too! On this page, we summarize what the Unjournal has been up to most recently.
MailChimp link: Sign up below to get these progress updates in your inbox about once per fortnight.
Some (other) ways to follow The Unjournal's progress
Update from David Reinstein, Founder and Co-Director
With the recent news, we now have the opportunity to move forward and really make a difference. I think The Unjournal, along with related initiatives in other fields, should become the place policymakers, grant-makers, and researchers go to consider whether research is reliable and useful. It should be a serious option for researchers looking to get their work evaluated. But how can we start to have a real impact?
Over the next 18 months, we aim to:
- 1.Build Awareness: (Relevant) people and organizations should know what the Unjournal is.
- 2.Build Credibility: The Unjournal must consistently produce insightful, well-informed, and meaningful evaluations and perform effective curation and aggregation of these. The quality of our work should be substantiated and recognized.
- 3.Expand our Scale and Scope: We aim to significantly grow while maintaining the highest standards of quality and credibility. Our loose target is to evaluate around 70 papers/projects over the next 18 months while also producing other valuable outputs and metrics.
With three more evaluations already in progress, this will yield a total of 10 evaluated papers. Once these are completed, we will decide the recipients for the Impactful Research Prize and the prizes for evaluators, announce and award these, and organize online presentations/discussions (maybe linked to an 'award ceremony'?).
No official announcements yet. However, we expect to be hiring (on a part-time contract basis) soon. This may include roles for:
- Researchers/meta-scientists: to help find and characterize research to be evaluated, identify and communicate with expert evaluators, and synthesize our ‘evaluation output’
- Communications specialists.
- Administrative and Operations personnel.
- Tech support/software developers.
We are committed to enhancing our platforms, and our evaluation and communication templates. We're also exploring strategies to nurture more beneficial evaluations and predictions, potentially in tandem with replication initiatives. A small win: our Mailchimp signup should now be working, and this update should be automatically integrated.
- Dworkin work centers on "improving scientific research, funding, institutions, and incentive structures through experimentation".
- Treich's current research agenda largely focuses on the intersection of animal welfare and economics.
The Unjournal was recommended/approved for a substantial grant through the 'S-Process' of the Survival and Flourishing Fund. More details and plans to come. This grant will help enable The Unjournal to expand, innovate, and professionalize. We aim to build the awareness, credibility, scale and scope of The Unjournal, and the communication, benchmarking, and useful outputs of our work. We want to have a substantial impact, building towards our mission and goals...
To make rigorous research more impactful, and impactful research more rigorous. To foster substantial, credible public evaluation and rating of impactful research, driving change in research in academia and beyond, and informing and influencing policy and philanthropic decisions.
Innovations: We are considering other initiatives and refinements (1) to our evaluation ratings, metrics, and predictions, and how these are aggregated, (2) to foster open science and robustness-replication, and (3) to provide inputs to evidence-based policy decision-making under uncertainty. Stay tuned, and please join the conversation.
Opportunities: We plan to expand our management and advisory board, increase incentives for evaluators and authors, and build our pool of evaluators and participating authors and institutions. Our previous call-to-action (see HERE) is still relevant if you want to sign up to be part of our evaluation (referee) pool, submit your work for evaluation, etc. (We are likely to put out a further call soon, but all responses will be integrated.)
We have published a total of 12 evaluations and ratings of 5 papers/projects, as well as 3 author responses. Four can be found on our PubPub page (most concise list here), and one on our Sciety page here (we aim to mirror all content on both pages). All the PubPub content has a DOI, and we are working to get these indexed on Google Scholar and beyond.
Both papers consider randomized randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for low-income households in two African countries (Kenya and Ghana). These papers come to very different conclusions as to the efficacy of this intervention.
We are now up to twelve total evaluations of five papers. Most of these are on our PubPub page (we are currently aiming to have all of the work hosted both at PubPub and on Sciety, and gaining DOIs and entering the bibliometric ecosystem). The latest two are on an interesting theme, as noted in a recent EA Forum Post:
Two more Unjournal Evaluation sets are out. Both papers consider randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for low-income households in two African countries (Kenya and Ghana). These papers come to very different conclusions as to the efficacy of this intervention.
More evaluations coming out soon, on themes including global health and development, the environment, governance and social media. \
To round out our initial pilot: We're particularly looking to evaluate papers/projects relevant to animal welfare and animal agriculture. Please reach out if you have suggestions.
You can now 'chat' with this page, and ask questions and get answers with links to other parts of the page. To try it out, go to "Search" and choose "Lens".
See our latest post on the EA Forum
- 3.More evaluations soon
- 3.Two more evaluations 'will be posted soon' (waiting for final author responses.
- Developing and discussing tools for aggregating and presenting the evaluators' quantitative judgments
- Building our platforms, and considering ways to better format and integrate evaluations
- with the original research (e.g., through Hypothes.is collaborative annotation)
- into the bibliometric record (through DOI's etc)
- and with each other.
We're considering collaborations with other compatible initiatives, including...
- replication/reproducability/robustness-checking initiatives,
- prediction and replication markets,
- and projects involving the elicitation and 'aggregation of expert and stakeholder beliefs' (about both replication and outcomes themselves).
- EA Forum: "Unjournal's 1st eval is up: Resilient foods paper (Denkenberger et al) & AMA": recent post and AMA (answering questions about the Unjournal's progress, plans, and relation to effective-altruism-relevant research
- 1.Evaluators: We have a strong pool of evaluators.
- with quantitative backgrounds, especially in economics, policy, and social-science
- comfortable with statistics, cost-effectiveness, impact evaluation, and or Fermi Montecarlo models,
- willing to dig into details, identify a paper's key claims, and consider the credibility of the research methodology and its execution.
- 2.Research to evaluate/prizes: We continue to be interested in submitted and suggested work. One area we would like to engage with more: quantitative social science and economics work relevant to animal welfare.
Hope these updates are helpful. Let me know if you have suggestions.