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David Harris
Science communication designer
Science communication designer

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A Journal of Brief Ideas

One thing slowing down the flow of research information is that the quantum of research, or the smallest publishable amount, is actually quite large, meaning that a lot of good ideas don’t get published (i.e. spread). Ideas stuck in a mind are no use to anybody except that one individual, but that limits the power of the idea.

Ideas which might be important but are small in size don’t have a natural home. So what if there were the equivalent of a journal, or more specifically the equivalent of the arXiv, for these briefly-expressible ideas?

The key features of such a journal would be:

- time and date stamped submission, for claiming priority
- revisions allowed with a new date stamp
- easy to cite like arXiv entries
- include citations to other ideas in the journal
- allow good search
- have RSS feed for individual authors so you can follow one person’s ideas if you like the way they think
- have a tag folksonomy with the responsibility being on the idea submitter to tag well so that their ideas can be found appropriately
- ideas should be rateable by others
- limit to the size of what can be presented. If it takes too much space to write down it is probably breakable into smaller ideas. Ideally each entry should be a single idea.

In one sense, you could just replicate the arXiv adding tagging and you’d have a nice workable system.

One of the issues to face would be dealing with spam and users who might overload the system with crap. I’m not sure how to deal with the latter at first and it’s not clear how big a problem it would be. Perhaps a rating system could help deal with that.

What would you pay to receive an artifact of science--some authentic physical curiosity--every few months?
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