Impactful Research Prize (pilot)

As of December 2023, the prizes below have been chosen and will be soon announced. We are also scheduling an event linked to this prize. However, we are preparing for even larger author and evaluator prizes for our next phase. Submit your research to The Unjournal or serve as an evaluator to be eligible for future prizes (details to be announced).

Submit your work to be eligible for our “Unjournal: Impactful Research Prize” and a range of other benefits including the opportunity for credible public evaluation and feedback.

First-prize winners will be awarded $, and the runner-ups will receive $1000.

Note: these are the minimum amounts; we will increase these if funding permits.

Prize winners will have the opportunity (but not the obligation) to present their work at an online seminar and prize ceremony co-hosted by The Unjournal, Rethink Priorities, and EAecon.

To be eligible for the prize, submit a link to your work for public evaluation here.

  • Please choose “new submission” and “Submit a URL instead.”

The Unjournal, with funding from the Long Term Future Fund and the Survival and Flourishing Fund, organizes and funds public-journal-independent feedback and evaluation. We focus on research that is highly relevant to global priorities, especially in economics, social science, and impact evaluation, and aim to expand this widely. We encourage better research by making it easier for researchers to get feedback and credible ratings on their work.

We aim to publicly evaluate 15 papers (or projects) within our pilot year. This award will honor researchers doing robust, credible, transparent work with a global impact. We especially encourage the submission of research in "open" formats such as hosted dynamic documents (Quarto, R-markdown, Jupyter notebooks, etc.).

The research will be chosen by our management team for public evaluation by 2–3 carefully selected, paid reviewers based on an initial assessment of a paper's methodological strength, openness, clarity, relevance to global priorities, and the usefulness of further evaluation and public discussion. We sketch out these criteria here.

All evaluations, including quantitative ratings, will be made public by default; however, we will consider "embargos" on this for researchers with sensitive career concerns (the linked form asks about this). Note that submitting your work to The Unjournal does not imply "publishing" it: you can submit it to any journal before, during, or after this process.

All work evaluated by The Unjournal will be eligible for the prize. Engagement with The Unjournal, including responding to evaluator comments, will be a factor in determining the prize winners. We also have a slight preference for giving at least one of the awards to an early-career researcher, but this need not be determinative.

Our management team and advisory board will vote on the prize winners in light of the evaluations, with possible consultation of further external expertise.

Deadline: Extended until 5 December (to ensure eligibility).

Note: In a subsection below, Recap: submissions, we outline the basic requirements for submissions to The Unjournal.

How we chose the research prize winners (2023)

The prize winners for The Unjournal's Impactful Research Prize were selected through a multi-step, collaborative process involving both the management team and the advisory board. The selection was guided by several criteria, including the quality and credibility of the research, its potential for real-world impact, and the authors' engagement with The Unjournal's evaluation process.

  1. Initial Evaluation: All papers that were evaluated by The Unjournal were eligible for the prize. The discussion, evaluations, and ratings provided by external evaluators played a significant role in the initial shortlisting.

  2. Management and Advisory Board Input: Members of the management committee and advisory board were encouraged to write brief statements about papers they found particularly prize-worthy.

  3. Meeting and Consensus: A "prize committee" meeting was held with four volunteers from the management committee to discuss the shortlisted papers and reach a consensus. The committee considered both the papers and the content of the evaluations Members of the committee allocated a total of 100 points among the 10 paper candidates. We used this to narrow down a shortlist of five papers.

  4. Point Voting: The above shortlist and the notes from the accompanying discussion were shared with all management committee and advisory board members. Everyone in this larger group was invited to allocate up to 100 points among the shortlisted papers (and asked to allocate fewer points if they were less familiar with the papers and evaluations).

  5. Special Considerations: We decided that at least one of the winners had to be a paper submitted by the authors or one where the authors substantially engaged with The Unjournal's processes. However, this constraint did not prove binding. Early-career researchers were given a slight advantage in our consideration.

  6. Final Selection: The first and second prizes were given to the papers with the first- and second-most points, respectively.

This comprehensive approach aimed to ensure that the prize winners were selected in a manner that was rigorous, fair, and transparent, reflecting the values and goals of The Unjournal.

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