I know it may sound somewhat out-of-order (if not outright crazy) to suggest it, but has anybody tried to use sites like Mendeley or the arXiv or some "social media" where you can upload PDFs to spread his or hers research even before publication? Has it ever been successful?

I know many scientists make profiles in diverse social medias to upload PDFs of their work (at least the ones they are allowed to) but I wonder how effective can it be if some "outsider" do the same? If I just create a Mendeley account and/or group and upload several PDFs there, write a short description what I am dealing with and the problems I face finding the right audience, do you think anybody will notice them or am I just making my situation worse? Do you think it will work? Or uploading them to the arXiv? Or just making a Google+ account? Or anything of this kind of "group sharing" of PDFs? I'm talking about papers turned away from journals because they are outside-scope and the journal is having problems to find proper experts to review them or outright deciding it isn't worth it to expand in this field. The more time passes the more I feel like I'm create a new field here and since it is brand new no journal is well-adjusted to take on it. Don't think I'm intentionally running away from the peer-review because I want to smear the academia. If enough people agree to at least view them (I'm not talking about agreeing with them just saying that there is something of a worth in them) can it spread enough to cause at least one journal to review it seriously? Can such a "buzz" strategy manage to spread awareness of an issue even if no one wants to publish it?

P.S.Please, be considerate to me and just tell me should I try it or not. Don't judge me, please, I'm just considering my options. I just want to reach somebody who can take me seriously, not get pushed back by the system because the reviewers can take the no-scope option.

P.S.2.What I am trying to publish s a paper laying the foundation of a brand new concept how complexity can arise. One which (as far as I know-I can't claim I have read everything about complexity which has ever been published-as you may know this is so HUGE field one can never claim such thing even if he reads about it all his life) contains ideas never researched before and has to include by basic thesis (3-5 pages of my core concepts) and a particular example how they are used. If I can get even one paper with the core in any journal, it will be very easy to start submitting many other papers in other journals citing it. Then I will be within the scope of these journals, but the big problem is this first one I must get in. I simply need a place which can accept my methodology and core ideas together with my example but it's this methodology which is so hard to understand and put in scope anywhere!

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – eykanal
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 5:02

4 Answers 4


Try conferences instead

You seem to have an underlying goal of getting in touch with researchers. Writing papers is not a good way to do this and "social media" for papers, like Mendeley, Arxiv etc are paper-centred. You don't get to know people there and "feedback", which is a social interaction, will be scarce.

If you have the guts for it, you should instead try to submit your work to an academic conference. Conferences typically only review your abstract prior to the conference. If your talk is accepted you may get to stand before an audience, present your work and get feedback, however harsh. You may also be relegated to a "poster session" where you put up your research on a wall and hope people come up and look at it. This too involves direct contact with researchers.

Note that rather than present all your postulates, you should give a birds-eye view of your project. What are you trying to accomplish, where are you heading, what is the main gist of the postulates? If you think this is hard, spare a thought for mathematicians working on the "Langlands project", trying to explain what they do.

Some conferences will also publish a conference proceeding, with or without peer-review. This gives you a chance at "real" publishing.

When choosing your conference, forum or workshop, you should consult the proceedings from past years and look for a good match. You say that you have some core postulates that overlap both science and philosophy. It sounds like you are looking for something on the "theory of science", but other keywords may apply too. See for instance http://ccs17.unam.mx/ for a receptive audience on interdisciplinary "complexity science".

A word of advice on getting accepted:

The first question people will have about your postulate is: How does this relate to [insert a century's worth of work on the topic]. Researchers want to see you put your work into the context of the work of others. The bad thing is that you may have to read up on Norbert Wiener, Prigogine, W. Ross Ashby, John Sterman, John Casti, Stuart Kauffman, Konrad Zuse, Maturana & Valera, Max Tegmark, highlights from the Santa Fe complex systems group and even Stephen Wolfram to answer such questions. The good news is that at the end of it, you will be in a much better position to select the right conference or even journal for you.

  • 2
    This is a good answer. I would only add that in some fields conferences are elevated above journals. You should aim for a conference that is more about testing ideas, (as Abulafia advised, check the proceedings). In other words, try to aim for abstract-only conferences where the aim is that you give a talk. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 11:15
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    I can't possibly go there. It is true I have used the work of half the people on your list for inspiration and may be I can make a reasonably good presentation and poster but this is MEXICO! How the hell can I get there? My salary is barely enough to visit the neighboring EU countries next to mine, so Mexico is out of the question. I don't have the funds to go to conferences beyond the borders of my country! And I already know anybody in my own country who can help me, this is why I'm here asking questions. With my salary and geography I can't do anything more! Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 15:03
  • @YordanYordanov: The conference is just an example. WOSC2017 in Rome could sortof have fitted your topic under "cyber systemic thinking, modelling and epistemology" or "Reflexivity, Second order science, and Context". There's also a "cybernetics and systems science" Facebook group with some calls for papers. And "IMCIC 17" in Florida even allow VIRTUAL attendance. (seems to be a yearly conference) The latter is probably the most "professional" online networking available
    – Abulafia
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 22:02
  • @Yordan Apply for a travel grant. This is how other researchers fund their conference visits if their core grant doesn’t include a conference allowance. Some conferences offer them directly; in addition, your hosting institute may also offer some. As a last resort, there are funding agencies. These are obviously competitive. Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 13:04
  • I think you can't understand my situation here. I am not like you guys! I don't work in any institution. In fact, I don't even work anything related to science. I'm on my own in the purest sense of the word here. It is true I have managed to find something I think can be of value for complexity thinking and I have my education in science to make me understand it but it isn't like I know how the community functions. And my salary is too low to allow me to travel the globe. This is why I'm looking for a way to make my ideas known as much as possible as easy as possible. Can you understand me Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 17:52

In my experience, even peer-reviewed publications are rarely read. There are a handful of influential papers in each field (from what I have seen) which are read and cited. But beyond these, a lot of work is only cited to keep people happy.

Therefore, I think that the chances of people reading the work without it being peer-reviewed are very slim.

If you want your work to get reviewed and it is being rejected before being read (this is what you're saying, I think), then you perhaps need co-authors that know the field better.

  • I haven't thought about that, thank you for the idea. Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 21:59
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    Interesting speculation but the evidence suggests otherwise: disseminating work (even if not peer reviewed) via social network can increase exposure tremendously. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 9:13
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    @KonradRudolph would be interested in reading about this evidence. I can't imagine this being common for otherwise the number of papers gaining notoriety through this route would be a noticeable fraction of papers in a field. Not suggesting it cannot happen, merely that it must be very rare indeed.
    – user67075
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 9:24
  • @KonradRudolph I think this might depend on the field and where exactly the research is disseminated. Certainly in math, if you put it on arXiv and it is good, it will often get noticed, but I doubt the same would be true of pretty much any other place of dissemination. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 9:33
  • @ZeroTheHero It's not rare. I don't know which field you're in but in physics for instance virtually all research is disseminated this way. In life sciences the tend is steadily growing. And in computer science, a sizeable fraction of publications are first published (and read, and cited) as (non peer reviewed) conference proceedings. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 11:17

One part of your question is very easy to answer:

If enough people agree to at least view them can it spread enough to cause at least one journal to review it seriously?

Journals only consider papers submitted to them. They will not review your work because it is popular on social media.

  • I mean it after it has been turned down by a journal. I will go and edit my question now. Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 22:26
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    Generally true but I've heard of cases where journal editors have themselves voiced interest in preprint papers. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 9:14
  • I agree. Journals are more old-school than you think. Journals do not understand popularity through social media, and I doubt they even follow if they were wrong to reject a paper.
    – famargar
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 14:53

I'm sorry to say that I do not think your idea will get much traction as far as spreading your work or results. The unfortunate reality is that most researchers already struggle to filter out "the noise", i.e. try to avoid reading unhelpful manuscripts, and peer-reviewed literature is one efficient way to do this. ArXiv is not peer-reviewed: not everybody goes there and - given the volume of submissions - it is unlikely that your paper will get widely noticed unless you are already well-known in your field of research.

Placing papers on social media works if you want to give post-publication access to articles behind a paywall, but if your manuscript has been rejected it's very unlikely to generate any "buzz": rejected papers have an infinitesimal chance of going "viral".

I believe the right audience will almost certainly be found by submitting to the right journal. For all its faults the peer-review process is overall fair (at least in my field), in the sense that good contributions are usually eventually recognized and published, even if significant corrections are sometimes required (see here for the perspective from a different field). I am not aware of reasonable contributions that are systematically rejected because of technicalities, i.e. I do not believe in conspiracy theories about small biased cliques controlling enough journals in a field to prevent serious work from being published. Presumably one can find anecdotal exceptions but I cannot imagine this is the rule.

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