The Journal of Brief Ideas
By David Harris
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, and that limits the power of the idea.
Furthermore, in some fields it can take five years of work or more for a postdoc to gather enough data and do the analysis for a single strong paper. The quantum is definitely too large in those fields. The idea of a long paper of many pages is an evolved phenomenon with the original “papers”–letters in early journals–often taking half a page or less to print. But those days are long gone.
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 for these briefly-expressible ideas? It would also be a home for brief negative results, partial results, and plans toward a result.