Reimagining Scientific Publishing — A Call For Content

Scientists often pay 1000’s of dollars to publish their work, promoting inequality. Through article contributions, we want to reinvent scientific publishing.


Skanda Vivek

3 years ago | 3 min read

In a world where technological breakthroughs are making science and innovation increasingly accessible and low-cost, scientific publications are a frustrating barrier to fostering scientific discussion. Things are only getting worse with recent ‘open-access’ trends, which force the author to pay thousands of dollars before publication.

Incredibly, the author writes the article, makes figures, formats content and then submits to a scientific journal. The editor of the journal invites 2–3 reviewers to submit their feedback as reports. After a few review rounds, the editor either accepts or rejects the journal. The entire process takes months or even years!

For open-access journals, the author pays the money for publication ranging typically from 1000 to more than 5000 dollars in some cases. Incredibly, the reviewers do not get any of the money — It all goes to the scientific journal publishers!

A recent survey in the Library Journal shows that the average price of the most expensive tier of journals was 50 times higher than the least expensive, whereas their impact factor was only 2 times higher. Since impact factor is a measure of the quality and visibility of a journal (measured through number of citations) in the scientific community, it goes to show that (arguably), higher cost does not reflect better quality or broader reach.

Costs Outstrip Library Budgets | Periodicals Price Survey 2020
Costs Outstrip Library Budgets | Periodicals Price Survey 2020

But wait, it gets even worse.

In a recent medium article,

Mark Humphries explains how Nature, a publishing giant now has a new policy where it will charge those who submit articles, €2,190 ($2,680) upfront just for reviewing an article! They call it a creative experiment to “manage financial risk.” Again, the reviewers do not see a cent of this. Since many journals are electronic these days, and most people prefer to read scientific papers on electronic devices, this begs the question: can there be a better, cheaper way?

Publishing in Emergent Phenomena

Let’s break down what is needed for publishing a scientific article:

  1. Doing high quality science
  2. Placing your contributions in context by referencing previous related work
  3. Preparing a manuscript and submitting
  4. Acceptance by a few established members of the relevant scientific community
  5. Publishing in a forum where others can read your work

Here at Emergent Phenomena, we take the approach that acceptance by the scientific community will be decided after publishing. After all, views, comments, and claps are all metrics of how relevant, engaging, and impactful your article is.

Content we are looking for

There are a few different categories of articles we look for.

Thought provoking ideas

Sometimes you might have a unique scientific idea that you have thought of for a while, but never sat down to write about it. Many times this would involve merging existing concepts with a new application.

For example, this recent article on how recent cyber attacks and large-scale society disruptions reveal the importance of complex-systems approaches. Or how the world’s longest running experiment breaks physics.

Science in everyday life

Many times we learn science concepts in school, but often in an abstract context which we forget soon after. Good articles will have engaging content, drawing from experiences in everyday life.

For example, what is entropy (read this article)? Or, you can connect the dots and find new ways of explaining concepts through everyday examples, e.g. why did the skies turn red during California wildfires?

Research and Innovation

Maybe you came up with a really cool discovery/invention/experiment that you haven’t seen before and just want to share it with the world! For example, quantifying city-scale traffic patterns.

What about format?

Keep it simple. Have interesting titles, a subtitle, attribute previous work including images, use only copyright-free media or make your own. Make sure to include references to other articles at the end — that way anyone interested in the general area of your work can read the appropriate references and understand the broader scientific context.

What’s in it for you?

You might decide to publish in a traditional scientific journal. After all, that is what the academic currency is, right? But before that, maybe you want to develop your ideas, see how the reaction is for your half-baked cake.

This is a great place for that! Medium’s affinity for small publications, SEO rankings, and wide audience is a great way to spread your idea! Let the creative juices flow, it doesn’t have to be perfect!

Ultimately, the goal is to fill a much needed gap, helping scientists at all levels communicate their work to the broader community. We are not the only ones that feel the scientific publishing process is broken and needs to change.

From Little Drops, Mighty Floods Emerge


Created by

Skanda Vivek

Senior Data Scientist in NLP. Creator of







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