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7 reasons to post your original ideas in iMechanica

Zhigang Suo's picture

1. iMechanica is free for all to use. iMechanica is hosted on a server at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, of Harvard University, and is managed by a team of volunteers -- mechanicians just like you. You pay nothing to post, and readers pay nothing to read. The limit of each upload file is 50MB, and each user is given 1GB server space.

2. You may submit the same paper to a journal and post it in iMechanica. Even if you would like to submit a full journal paper, you can still post a preprint of the same paper in iMechanica. Most journals permit authors to post preprints online; please check the permission of any particular journal.

3. You can establish the priority of your idea. The moment you post, your idea receives a timestamp from the server of iMechanica. You can revise your post as many times as you wish. iMechanica records full texts of all versions, along with distinct timestamps, for everyone to view. There should be no ambiguity as to who first publishes an idea. To view revisions of a post, click the title of the post, and then click the tab "revisions". For example, view the revisions of this post.

4. You only need to convince yourself before you publish an idea. No need to convince anyone else that your idea is correct, or new, or publishable. Thus, you do not need to dress up your idea to please experts and laymen simultaneously. When you leave your idea naked, most likely it is easier for experts to read. You can always write an expository piece later, or leave it to someone else. You can publish an idea in a post shorter than an APL or a PRL, or longer than a book, or anything in between, in any form. Be creative.

5. You may get peer reviews, possibly lots of them. Fellow mechanicians have their own reasons to comment on your post. Their comments placed in iMechanica may benefit other readers, attract more people to read your post, and help you refine your idea. iMechanica only allows registered users to write comments. The identity of everyone is visible to all. You are less likely to get nasty reviews. You may, however, still get critical reviews. Because photos of all parties appear, the conversation is more likely to be collegial, similar to a face to face conversation in a hallway. Your post may even receive comments many years after its initial posting. The meaning of an idea may evolve with time. Someone may see new light in your old idea. Her comment will still be in the same place, right below your original post. See examples of comments here and here.

6. Each post has a unique URL. You and other people can cite an idea by making a hyperlink, or by emailing the URL. Thus, your idea can be mixed with other ideas in many ways without losing identity. Make your idea an active atom, ready to form many molecules with other active ideas.

7. iMechanica is gaining readership everyday (see numbers). Fellow mechanicians can find your post by browsing recent posts, clicking tags, looking up popular content on the left side, or subscribing to RSS feeds. You can view the list of registered users. iMechanica also has a large number of anonymous users. Of course, you can always alert your favorite readers by emailing them the URL of your post.

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