PROPOSALS FOR IMECHANICA
Hello imechanica users: I launch a few ideas. Can we improve imechanica stealing ideas from successful web systems like google, amazon, wikipedia, myspace, youtube? Taking the best of the various worlds to improve our imechanica?
Imechanica is growing fast, as every blog, and more and more will have the problem of having too many entries, with no fixed quality. The result is that it is taken less seriously than, say, Nature. This means that it is taken mostly as a new system to launch adverts, quick ideas, but not to circulate "really serious" material. Imechanica, despite being more immediate than, say, Nature, is less taken for serious. Having noticed that top people hardly read imechanica or take it for place to publish results? This is perhaps not to be forever. Is it also because
1) it doesn't have reviewers to "filter" material to ensure good enough quality
2) it doesn't rank the quality or make any change even based on number of reads or any "ranking"
3) it doesn't adapt to any "citation index" or "impact" or success
4) its content is not improved by users like "wikipedia"
5) it doesn't give feedback on preliminary versions of research papers or even to proposals -- it doesn't even have special "sections" to post these two categories
6) it doesn't have feedback like when you buy in AMAZON or in EBAY and people suggest a vote for the quality of any other user
Of course, some of these points are adressed, but since imechanica is run by volunteers and people who are already overloaded to run it, I think it is good to have an open discussion before any major change. The purpose of the open discussion is to gauge interest, persuade buy-in among users, and get ideas for implementation. iMechanica is not funded by anyone. Everyone is a
volunteer. We need to be extremely cautious in asking for people's time.
My idea for example would be
a) let anyone experience the thrill of journal Editors and send to reviewers papers, get reviewers feedback, decide who is rigth
b) have a place were one can make "preliminary submissions". I mean both
b-1) papers. I have recently submitted what I consider a very good idea in friction, and perhaps I will submit later to Nature indeed. http://imechanica.org/node/2995 or http://imechanica.org/node/2983. So far, I received 340 read, but not a single comment. For a while, members of Suo's group have posted preprints on the same days when papers are submitted to journals (see http://imechanica.org/taxonomy/term/85). Many papers got comments, but some don't. The comments have been very helpful to Suo's group. How to encourage people to comment on new papers?
b.2) research proposals. How much would be gained if people were better in writing proposals, and could explore their ideas discussing it with top people? I think they explored this for proposals in EU, and they got reasonably good feedback, as people want to improve their papers before final submission.
c) should an Email alert arrive to users about selected posts on subjects of their choice? For example, I don't use Imechanica regularly, but an Email every week with a selection of the most read posts and most active discussions would be useful
d) could a place where CV are put be useful? Like myspace for every user of Imechanica to upload their CV, their preferred papers, they web pages, etc. It is like having a subspace of Myspace.com into imechanica, but perhaps more. It can be done with hyperlinks, it doesn't need to repeat of course all this material in imechanica itself.
e) could a selected "papers" be created by predefined groups of users? Then refined by others like "wikipedia". If god papers emerge, let imechanica administrator submit the paper to Editors of journals automatically with the authors list defined by the people who contributed to the discussion?
f) expertise among users are diverse. Of course, some users are more vocal than others. iMechanica hasn't reached year 2 yet. Given time, it will have some vocal users on any aspects that interest mechanicians. Will this become too confused, so that we need to have a database for each subtopic of imechanica, like journal Editors when they approach reviewers?
Just a few ideas. Maybe some are simple and some are too ambitious. Maybe some can be grouped, some can be done immediately, some later...
Politecnico di Bari, Italy & Ecole Polytecnique France