Workflow - Closure Mechanism

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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?

To ensure the advancement of knowledge, an academic workflow requires some closure mechanism, i.e. some idea as to what counts as a communal consensus and when and how it is to be achieved. This is far from obvious, as different workflows often have different procedures for consensus formation. In some workflows, the closure happens with the publication of the paper, while in others it happens long after the initial publication, if at all. In the latter case, workflows can differ in their understanding of what counts as a consensus (e.g. unanimity, lack of explicit objection, majority opinion, etc.). "While views differ as to how closure should proceed, they agree that we need some way to close debates or discussions such that they do not extend indefinitely."1 Thus, it is important for the scientonomic workflow to have a proper closure mechanism in place to ensure that suggested modifications are evaluated and verdicts are reached communally in an inclusive and transparent fashion.

In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Hakob Barseghyan and Jamie Shaw in 2019. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community. At the moment, the question has no accepted answer in Scientonomy.

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this question (it includes all the instances when the question was accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by a community):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy22 December 2019The publication of Shaw and Barseghyan (2019) is and indication of the acceptance of the question.Yes

All Theories

The following theories have attempted to answer this question:
TheoryFormulationFormulated In
Closure Mechanism - Time Limit and Communal Vote (Shaw-Barseghyan-2019)The verdict on a suggested modification should be decided by a communal vote that will follow the discussion period.2019
Closure Mechanism - Acceptance by Default (Shaw-Barseghyan-2019)A modification should be accepted by default if there are no objections within a 90-day period following its publication.2019

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Accepted Theories

According to our records, no theory on this topic has ever been accepted.

Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of modifications concerning this topic:
ModificationCommunityDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2019-0007Scientonomy22 December 2019Accept that the verdict on suggested modifications is to be decided by a communal vote that will follow the discussion period. Have a communal discussion and decide as to what percentage of votes it should take for a modification to be accepted - a simple majority (50% +1), or supermajority of three fifths (60%), two thirds (67%), or three quarters (75%). Also discuss to decide as to how long the discussion period and the voting period should be.Open
Sciento-2019-0008Scientonomy22 December 2019Accept 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 AcceptedIt 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".c618 October 2022

Current View

Related Topics

This question is a subquestion of Scientonomic Workflow.


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