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While working on my thesis in neutron imaging I got an idea for a new approach to data analysis, involving Machine Learning solutions that are not available at the moment (please note that I am a physicist, with little computer science background). I spoke about it with a few colleagues and I got good feedback, even if nobody wanted to collaborate on it (sounds too abstract, I guess). I contacted a few computer scientists, and nobody had time for this ;-)

I am now job hunting and I can't work full time on something where I need to start from scratch, but I still think it would be worth try to publish the idea somewhere (it seems none is working in that direction). Do you know if there is a journal or something similar for publishing suggestions on possible research directions in computer science and/or data analysis and algorithms development? Thanks

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    beta.briefideas.org – David Ketcheson Jun 20 '16 at 13:03
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    It’s generally agreed — though qualifications apply — that ideas are a dime a dozen. This may explain why there’s no excellent venue any more to publish ideas. This used to be different, and some of the seminal papers in my field are purely conjectural. – Konrad Rudolph Jun 20 '16 at 15:23
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    @KonradRudolph "theoretical" describes many papers with results in many fields (mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc.), which is to say the proof of a theorem which might have started as "just" an idea or a conjecture. An idea-only paper is not something I'd describe as "theoretical". – Bill Barth Jun 20 '16 at 15:24
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    @BillBarth Fair point — I’ve changed it. In this context I meant “theoretical” as “not backed up by evidence”. This may be empirical evidence or evidence of any other type, including a formal proof. – Konrad Rudolph Jun 20 '16 at 15:26
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    I love halfbakery.com . They're not particularly research-oriented, but there is a [science section]halfbakery.com/category/Science). Many of the ideas are just jokes or people rambling, but there are some gems in there. – foobarbecue Jun 21 '16 at 2:55
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If you can write down what you want to say in <200 words you could give The Journal of Brief Ideas a go. Publications there are archived, searchable and citeable.

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While you might struggle to publish something like this in a journal, in Computer Science there are other venues to look out for, such as conferences and workshops. These are smaller (and sometimes less prestigious) than journals, but usually with a tighter focus: you can often publish work-in-progress or position papers.

Edit: Some conferences are large, prestigious events, and will expect a substantial contribution to the field, so before you decide where to submit, take a look at past papers, and the sort of thing they tend to publish.

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    Careful! In most subfields of computer science, conferences are the primary vehicle for communicating research—program committees expect results. Some workshops accept work in progress, but "work in progress" means more than just ideas—you really have to have made some progress. Other "workshops" are really just conferences whose name starts with a W. – JeffE Jun 20 '16 at 22:32
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    I think submitting a position paper would be the best bet. – Sebi Jun 21 '16 at 0:06
  • @JeffE Good point, I'll try to make that clearer – Landric Jun 21 '16 at 9:26
  • I think this answer is substantially wrong and still doesn't address @JeffE's point. CS conferences are all, in my experience, looking for actual results. And even a workshop (of the kind that isn't just a conference whose name begins with W) is going to be looking for partial results and not just "Hey, this might work." At the very least, you'd need, "Here's my idea. Here's how it solves some simple but non-trivial problems. Here's how it might be applied to the big problems." and, perhaps "And here are some concrete obstacles that need to be overcome." – David Richerby Jun 21 '16 at 10:40
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Short answers: A blog. An e-book.

A blog meets the basic criteria of your question. You can publish your ideas on the Internet and there will be no tangible results. And you can make a blog for free.

You can also write your idea down into a Word document, put some graphics in it, and output a PDF. Then convert the PDF to a few e-book formats and upload to Amazon. This might cost a little bit of money to get started. But think about it - people might pay money to read your ideas!

There are also "idea websites" that come and go as well. You can publish there too knowing that two years from now, they will no longer exist.

Ideas are a dime a dozen - maybe cheaper now due to inflation, population growth, automation, and get-rich-quick schemes. In my experience, actually doing the work to implement the idea, doing the research, etc. is the only way to make real headway. An alternative strategy, if you truly believe that the idea is valuable to society, is to KickStarter it (or, if you are from the future reading this, whatever crowdsourcing/project funding platform is available to you) and then hire some people to help you do the research and implement the idea. Ideas are brainfarts. Research and implementations require blood, sweat, tears, money, and sleepless nights.

Okay, all of that was a bit cynical. But there was truth in there too. And you can definitely publish both blogs and e-books and slowly gather a following of those who hang onto your ideas. Good educators are always on the lookout for good, doable ideas they can have their students work on. So it really depends on how far you are willing to take your idea.

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    I agree with the blog idea, but I don't think an e-book is appropriate for the OP's situation. – Kimball Jun 20 '16 at 23:55
  • @Kimball - I mostly agree. It depends on how far the OP wants to take it. If it takes many, many pages of text to describe, it could be an appropriate format. Blog posts are best for just a few paragraphs. They get a bit unwieldy/hard to digest for extremely long posts whereas a PDF has much more control over the structure/appearance. – K. Doe Jun 21 '16 at 17:09
  • Mostly, who would pay money to read a technical research proposal? – David Z Jun 24 '16 at 9:11

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