What specific areas do we cover?

This discussion is a work-in-progress

  1. With the potential for impact, and with the potential for Unjournal evaluations to have an impact (see our high-level considerations and our prioritization ratings discussions).

  2. Our is quantitative work that informs global priorities (see linked discussion), especially in , informing our Theory of Change.

  3. We give a data presentation of the work we have already covered and the work we are prioritizing here, which will be continually updated.

But what does this mean in practice? What specific research fields, topics, and approaches are we likely to classify as 'relevant to evaluate'?

We give some lists and annotated examples below.

Fields, methods, and approaches

As of January 2024 The Unjournal focuses on ...

  1. Research where the fundamental question being investigated involves human behavior and beliefs and the consequences of these. This may involve markets, production processes, economic constraints, social interactions, technology, the 'market of ideas', individual psychology, government processes, and more. However, the main research question should not revolve around issues outside of human behavior, such as physical science, biology, or computer science and engineering. These areas are out of our scope (at least for now).

  2. Research that is fundamentally quantitative and uses . It will generally involve or consider measurable inputs, choices, and outcomes; specific categorical or quantitative questions; analytical and mathematical reasoning; hypothesis testing and/or belief updating, etc.

  3. Research that targets and addresses a single specific question or goals, or a small cluster. It should not mainly be a broad discussion and overview of other research or conceptual issues.

This to generally involves the academic fields:

  • Economics

  • Applied Statistics (and some other applied math)

  • Psychology

  • Political Science

  • Other quantitative social science fields (perhaps Sociology)

  • Applied "business school" fields: finance, accounting, operations, etc.

  • Applied "policy and impact evaluation" fields

  • Life science/medicine where it targets human behavior/social science

These discipline/field boundaries are not strict; they may adapt as we grow

Why this field/method focus?

These were chosen in light of two main factors:

  1. Our founder and our team is most comfortable assessing and managing the consideration of research in these areas.

  2. These fields seem to be particularly amenable to, and able to benefit from our journal-independent evaluation approach. Other fields, such as biology, are already being 'served' by strong initiatives like Peer Communities In.

Ex.: work we included/excluded based on field/method

To do: We will give and explain some examples here

Outcomes, focus areas, and causes

The Unjournal's mission is to prioritize

  • research with the strongest potential for a positive impact on global welfare

  • where public evaluation of this research will have the greatest impact

Given this broad goal, we consider research into any cause, topic, or outcome, as long as the research involves fields, methods, and approaches within our domain (see above), and as long as the work meets our other requirements (e.g., research must be publicly shared without a paywall).

While we don't have rigid boundaries, we are nonetheless focusing on certain areas:


(As of Jan. 2024) we have mainly commissioned evaluations of work involving development economics and health-related outcomes and interventions in low-and middle-income countries.

As well as research involving

  • Environmental economics, conservation, harm to human health

  • The social impact of AI and emerging technologies

  • Economics, welfare, and governance

  • Catastrophic risks; predicting and responding to these risks

  • The economics of innovation; scientific progress and meta-science

  • The economics of health, happiness, and wellbeing

We are currently prioritizing further work involving

  • Psychology, behavioral science, and attitudes: the spread of misinformation; other-regarding preferences and behavior; moral circles

  • Animal welfare: markets, attitudes

  • Methodological work informing high-impact research (e.g., methods for impact evaluation)

We are also considering prioritizing work involving

  • AI governance and safety

  • Quantitative political science (voting, lobbying, attitudes)

  • Political risks (including authoritarian governments and war and conflict)

  • Institutional decisionmaking and policymaking

  • Long-term growth and trends; the long-term future of civilization; forecasting

Examples of work we chose to prioritize or de-prioritize based on focus area

To do: We will give and explain some examples here

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