Outreach texts

An important part of making this a success will be to spread the word, to get positive attention for this project, to get important players on board, network externalities, and change the equilibrium. We are also looking for specific feedback and suggestions from "mainstream academics" in Economics, Psychology, and policy/program evaluation, as well as from the Open Science and EA communities.

Key points to convey

As social media blurbs

Good news (funding)

The "Unjournal" is happening, thanks to ACX and the LTFF! We will be organizing and funding:

  • Journal-independent peer review and rating,

  • ... of projects (not just "pdf-imprisoned papers"),

  • focusing on Economics, Psychology, and Impact Evaluation research,

  • relevant to the world's most pressing problems and most effective solutions.

Target: Academics, not necessarily EA aligned. But I don’t think this is deceptive because the funders should give a tipoff to anyone who digs, and ultimately The Unjournal might also go beyond EA-relevant stuff.

Tone: Factual, positive

Journal rents and hoops

Do you love for-profit journals

  • taking your labor and selling it back to your university library?

  • making you jump through arcane hoops to "format your article"?

  • forcing you through inscrutable sign-in processes?

Then please don't bother with The Unjournal.

Target: Academics, not necessarily EA aligned who are frustrated with this stuff.

Tone: Sarcastic, irreverent, trying to be funny

Breaking out of the bad equilibrium

Journals: Rent-extracting, inefficient, pdf-prisons, gamesmanship. But no researcher can quit them.

Until The Unjournal: Rate projects, shared feedback, pay reviewers.

No trees axed to print the latest "Journal of Fancy Manuscripts." We just evaluate the most impactful work.

Target, Tone: Same as above, but less sarcastic, using language from Economics … maybe also appealing to library and university admin people?

(Longer version of above)

Traditional academic journals: Rent-extracting, inefficient, delaying innovation. But no researcher or university can quit them.

Or maybe we do have some escape bridges. We can try to Unjournal. Projects get rated, feedback gets shared, reviewers get paid. No trees get chopped down to print the latest "Journal of Fancy Manuscripts." We are starting small, but it only takes one domino.

Disgruntled researchers, the wasteful journal game

Your paper got rejected after two glowing reviews? Up for tenure? How many more journals will you have to submit it to? Will you have to make the same points all over again? Or will the new referees tell you the exact opposite of the last ones?

Don't worry, there's a new game in town: The Unjournal. Submit your work. Get it reviewed and rated. Get public feedback. Move on . . . or continue to improve your project and submit it wherever else you like.*

*And we are not like the "Berkeley Electronic Press". We will never sell out, because we have nothing to sell.

Aim, tone: Similar to the above

Projects not (just) papers

Tired of the 'pdf prison'? Got...

  • a great web interface for your project, with expandable explanations

  • an R-markdown dynamic document, with interactive tools, data, code.

  • or your software or data is the project.

Can't submit it to a journal but need feedback and credible ratings? Try The Unjournal.

Target: More open-science and tech-savvy people

Peer reviewers should get paid and have their feedback matter

Referee requests piling up? You better write brilliant reviews for that whopping $0, so the author can be annoyed at you and they can disappear into the ether. Or you can help The Unjournal, where you get paid for your work, and reviews become part of the conversation.

Aim tone: similar to 2–3

Research should target global priorities

Social science research:

  • builds methods of inferring evidence from data;

  • builds clear logical arguments;

  • helps us understand behavior, markets, and society; and

  • informs "policy" and decision making . . . but for whom and for what goal?

The US government and traditional NGOs are often the key audience (and funders). "It's easier to publish about US data and US policy," they say. But most academics think more broadly than that. And Economics as a field has historically aimed at "the greatest social good." The Unjournal will prioritize research that informs the most effective interventions and global priorities, for humanity (and animals) now and in the future.

Target: EAs and EA-aligned researchers, researchers who might be "converted"

Tone: Straightforward, idealistic

EA organizations/researchers need feedback and credibility

You are a researcher at an organization trying to find the most effective ways to improve the world, reduce suffering, prevent catastrophic risks, and improve the future of humanity. You, your team, your funders, and the policymakers you want to influence . . . they need to know if your methods and arguments are strong, and if your evidence is believable. It would be great if academic experts could give their honest feedback and evaluation. But who will evaluate your best work, and how will they make this credible? Maybe The Unjournal can help.

Target: Researchers and research-related ops people at EA and EA-adjacent orgs. Perhaps OP in particular.

Tone: Casual but straightforward

How and where to promote and share

Pitch to ACX (and LTFF) media
  • ACX will announce this, I shared some text

  • Post on ACX substack

The Unjournal is in large part about shifting the equilibrium in academia/research. As I said in the application, I think most academics and researchers are happy and ready for this change but there's a coordination problem to resolve. (Everyone thinks "no one else will get on this boat," even though everyone agrees it's a better boat). I would love to let ACX readers (especially those in research and academia) know there's a "new game in town." Some further key points (please let me know if you think these can be stated better):

  • The project space is unjournal.org, which I'd love to share with the public ... to make it easy, it can be announced as "bit.ly/eaunjournal" as in "bitly dot com EA unjournal"... and everyone should let me know if they want editor access to the gitbook; also, I made a quick 'open comment space' in the Gdoc HERE.

  • I'm looking for feedback and for people interested in being part of this, and for 'nominations' of who might be interested (in championing this, offering great ideas, being part of the committee)

  • We will put together a committee to build some consensus on a set of workable rules and standards (especially for "how to choose referees," "what metrics should they report," and "how to define the scope of EA-relevant work to consider"). But we won't "hold meetings forever"; we want to build an MVP soon.

  • I think this could be a big win for EA and RP "getting more relevant research," for improving academia (and ultimately replacing the outdated system of traditional journals), and for building stronger ties between the two groups.

  • Researchers should know:

    • We will pay reviewers to offer feedback, assessment, and metrics, and reviews will be public (but reviewers might be anonymous -- this is a discussion point).

    • We will offer substantial cash prizes for the best projects/papers, and will likely ask the winners to present their work at an online seminar

    • You'll be able to submit your research project/paper to the unjournal (or recommend others' work) at any point in the "publication process"; it is not exclusive, and will not prevent you from 'publishing elsewhere'

    • You're encouraged to submit (time-stamped) 'projects' including dynamic documents connected to data, and interactive presentations

Social media/forums, etc (see Airtable 'media_roll')

Social media

  1. Twitter: Academia (esp. Econ, Psych, Global Health), Open science, EA

  2. Facebook

EA Forum post (and maybe AMA?)

EA orgs

Open science orgs (OSF, BITSS, ...)

Academic Economics (& other fields) boards/conferences/groups?

Universities/groupings of universities

Slack groups

  • Global EA

  • EA Psychology

  • Open science MooC?

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