Closure Mechanism - Acceptance by Default (Shaw-Barseghyan-2019)

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This is an answer to the question Workflow - Closure Mechanism that states "A modification should be accepted by default if there are no objections within a 90-day period following its publication."

Closure Mechanism - Acceptance by Default was formulated by Hakob Barseghyan and Jamie Shaw in 2019.1

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

This theory has never been accepted.

Suggestions To Accept

Here are all the modifications where the acceptance of this theory has been suggested:

Modification Community Date Suggested Summary Verdict Verdict Rationale Date Assessed
Sciento-2019-0008 Scientonomy 22 December 2019 Accept that a countdown mechanism is to be introduced, where a modification is accepted by default if there are no objections within a 90-day period following its publication. Not Accepted It has been agreed that the idea of accepting a modification by default after a fixed time period might have several negative consequences. First, it may lead to the automatic acceptance of an otherwise unacceptable modification that just happened to be suggested at a time when most researchers interested in the topic were exceptionally busy.c1 It was emphasized that if we were to allow for modifications to become accepted simply "because no one said anything" we would be giving "undue power to the mechanism of what gets accepted".c2 This might "allow some modifications to garner more discussion than others depending on when they are published and lead to an incorrect understanding of the Scientonomic community’s evaluation of a particular modification", so we might end up with a mosaic that is not representative of the communal views.c3 It was also agreed that acceptance by default fails to address the concern that some members of the community may be reluctant to object to a modification for a variety of reasons. It is unlikely that “having time limits, even if they are apparent and made known within our community, will incentivize explicit objection”.c4 It was suggested that "researchers may be even more reluctant to “impede the modification’s acceptance” now that it would be an automatic process”.c5 Finally, it was mentioned that "the implementation of this modification may result in yet another unwanted consequence: some researchers may end up submitting a negative comment simply for the sake of preventing the automatic acceptance of the modification and stopping the countdown".c6 18 October 2022

Question Answered

Closure Mechanism - Acceptance by Default (Shaw-Barseghyan-2019) is an attempt to answer the following question: How should verdicts on suggested modifications be achieved? If modifications are accepted as a result of a communal consensus, then what constitutes such a consensus?

See Workflow - Closure Mechanism for more details.


One potential way of addressing the problem of closure mechanism is by introducing a “countdown” mechanism, where the community is given a three-month (90-day) discussion period for commenting on a suggested modification and, if no objections raised during this period, the proposed modification becomes accepted by default. According to Shaw and Barseghyan:

This allows for the possibility of inclusive debate without stalling on the development of our theory of scientific change. One disadvantage is that it doesn’t address the worry about masked objections raised in the previous section – people still may not explicitly dissent.1p. 11


No reasons are indicated for this theory.

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Questions About This Theory

There are no higher-order questions concerning this theory.

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  1. a b  Shaw, Jamie and Barseghyan, Hakob. (2019) Problems and Prospects with the Scientonomic Workflow. Scientonomy 3, 1-14. Retrieved from