aarongertler comments on EA needs a cause prioritization journal - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: aarongertler  (EA Profile) 14 September 2018 11:37:13AM 4 points [-]

To provide some context for this discussion, here's a 2017 overview of the cause prioritization landscape (not an intellectual summary -- more about the way resources are distributed, and what happens to the output).

That summary notes that existing cause-prioritization research is rarely used by non-EAs, but has influenced some government funding when it was spread by other parties (e.g. the Copenhagen Consensus Center talking to the British government). If a journal did come to exist for cause prioritization, much of its impact might come from how the results are shared, rather than the existence of the results in a journal format. And the EA community already has routes to sharing our results -- so to me, the main question at hand is: "How do we get better results?" Or, as the OP put it, how do we make intellectual progress?

If we want to focus on accelerating progress and helping discussions not become "lost", a journal doesn't seem like the optimal format. Something like the Cause Prioritization Wiki, which allows for rapid updating and the aggregation of content in a single place (rather than scattered through many articles) seems better for those goals.

This makes it a bit harder for some outsiders (e.g. academics) to contribute, but makes it much easier for non-academics to incorporate academic information into summaries. I suspect that an approach of "help EAs find good research and add it to our databases" would go better than an approach of "help good researchers find EA and publish in our journal", but each plan has its own pro/con list.