The Wasteflake Project is intended as a place to commit public scientific collaboration, to consider scientific and philosophical concerns from many perspectives, professional and non-professional, insider and outsider. It combines the intimacy and informality of a conference symposium with the public availability of the Internet, linking scholars around the world in discussion, both structured and free-form, of issues of interest.

Scientists have used the Internet to great advantage, but many traditions of scholarly publishing, whether online or in more traditional media, actually frustrate and even block communication. Editing and reviewing are major expenses for publishing in any medium. In addition to being expensive, these processes are notoriously prone to favoritism. Even when reviewers are scrupulously fair, the process creates long delays in publishing. See PeerReview for more discussion of this process.

Although there is an argument to be made about maintaining a scientific standard, the review process is a repressive process as well. Pursuing publication and tenure, academics too often write in a miserably stodgy, jargon-laden, "scientific" manner, which discourages non-academics from reading and considering their contributions.

In addition, academics and non-academics around the world have little chance to communicate with their associates if they cannot afford to attend conferences. The Wasteflake Project seeks to create communication opportunities among academics and non-academics, to (in the words of the Maple Street Book Shops) "fight the stupids."

The Wasteflake Project bypasses these costs to enable genuine communication among scholars around the globe, whether inside or outside academic institutions. We will investigate questions of interest to ourselves and our communities, to get feedback and, in the words of Paul Grobstein, to be "progressively less wrong." (Or, if you prefer Samuel Beckett: "No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.")

In the Wasteflake Project, topics will be chosen by the community. Each topic will be addressed in invited or contributed PositionPapers. Articles, a discussion forum, and a wiki will be available for reading by anyone. Self-registered users may comment on articles and post messages in the forum, and participate in creating and editing the wiki.

Wasteflake topics will not be confined to archaeology, although one of the editors is an archaeologist, nor to computer science, although one of the editors is a computer scientist, nor to complexity, although one of the editors is a complicated person. Instead, we seek to discuss the interface between science and culture, in any and all forms that might follow from that. In addition, PositionPapers are but one of many styles of contribution we will solicit. We envision fiction, puzzles, games, photographs, drawings, and other media as expressions of the culture/science interface. Contributions need not be polished into a "final" form; indeed, we offer HalfbakedIdeas as a starting point for consideration of various ideas.

Contributions can be commented upon and discussed in the forum. Topics can be further explored with the Wasteflake Wiki, which allows any member to edit the content of a page or to create new pages within the wiki. The wiki technology allows individuals to write and edit, focusing on the content; it involves no coding, no uploading, no programming. Most users will be able to understand the procedure in five minutes.

New topics will be presented at intervals. Old topics will be kept active as long as it seems prudent and then archived. We plan to publish print copies of articles and pertinent discussions, archiving those topics to make room for discussion of new topics. Authors will retain copyright, except for granting web publication and a one-time print publication permissions to the Wasteflake Project (see WasteflakeCopyright for more information and discussion).

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Created by kristin. Last Modification: Thursday 26 of February, 2004 10:57:58 EST by kristin.