It's not clear to me what the disagreement is here. Which heuristic are you defending again?

If it's not published, it's not science

Response: Can we skip the pointless categorizations and evaluate whether material is valid or useful on a case by case basis? Clearly there is some material that has not been published that is useful (see: This website).

If it's not published in a peer-reviewed journal, there's no reason to treat it any differently than the ramblings of the Time Cube guy.

Response: Ahh yes, anything not peer-reviewed clearly contains Time Cube-levels of crazy.

Or none of the above? I'm not sure we actually disagree on anything here.


The problem of publication bias is another reason to be wary of the publication heuristic recommended a few comments above. If you follow that heuristic rigorously, you will necessarily expose yourself to the systematic distortions arising from publication bias.

This is not to say that you should therefore believe the first unpublished paper you come across. It's only to point out that the publication heuristic has certain problems, and while not ignored, it should be supplemented. You ignore unpublished research at your peril. In an ideal world, peer revie... (read more)

Reasons for SIAI to not publish in mainstream journals

by lukeprog 1 min read10th Apr 201138 comments


Recently, I gave some reasons for SIAI to begin publishing in mainstream journals, and outlined how it could be done.

I've recently been made aware of some pretty good reasons for SIAI to not publish in mainstream journals, so here they are:

  1. Articles published to websites (e.g. Yudkowsky's work, Bostrom's pre-prints) seem to have gotten more attention, and had more positive impact, than their in-journal counterparts.
  2. Articles in mainstream journals take a relatively large amount of time, money, and expertise to produce.
  3. Articles in mainstream journals must jump through lots of hoops - journals' aversion to novelty, reviewer bias, etc.
  4. It is easier to simply collaborate with (and greatly influence) established mainstream academics who have already jumped through mainstream academia's many hoops (as Carl Shulman has been doing, for example).
I still think there are strong reasons to publish articles in standard academic form (for readability purposes), but I've recently updated hugely toward SIAI not publishing in mainstream journals.