Throughout history, science and mathematics has been advanced by people from a wide range of backgrounds; intellectuals, priests, rich noblemen, patent clerks and autodidacts from the third world. Only in the past century did research become overwhelmingly concentrated into the ivory towers of academia. With the scientific literature locked away in the thick volumes of journals held in university libraries it became impossible for anyone outside the establishment to follow the quickening pace of new ideas.
Twenty years ago this began to change with the advent of the internet and the world wide web where research papers previously distributed between universities as preprints were transferred to websites openly accessible to anyone with an internet connection at work or at home. Thousands of PhD students each year learn the methods of research in science but leave to apply their skills in industry rather than continuing their academic career. Now they find that they have access to new results in the fields of science that interested them as students. Aided by new technologies such as powerful home computers they can often continue in their spare time to advance the research they left behind.
And it is not just those with PhDs who can join this revolution. Many people in today’s world are sufficiently smart, well-educated and motivated to develop their own ideas and write them up as scientific papers. While governments pass new legislation to ensure that publicly funded research is made available to all through free and open access on the internet, another important side of scientific research remains closed to outsiders. Publishing in academic journals is a drawn-out process where people without institutional affiliations are subjected to extra scrutiny by their peers inside universities. Publishing in open access journals can also be far too costly for those without funding. Mainstream researchers have the ability to deposit their new papers in eprint repositories for rapid dissemination but submission is often closed to outsiders unless they can obtain an endorsement from someone inside the system. This blockage delays publication leaving independent researchers open to the risk of losing priority or even being plagiarised if someone else publishes the idea first. In many cases the obstacles to publication are just too great and the work never gets seen or it may be published in fly-by-night hobby journals that disappear before the new idea becomes relevant.
viXra.org is an open access repository for preprint papers from all areas of science and mathematics. It was founded in 2009 to help overcome problems increasingly experienced by independent researchers who wish to disseminate their original research. It has also proved useful to people in less well funded institutions such as those in the third world and academics whose ideas fall outside the accepted mainstream.
The purpose of viXra is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to place their work in a repository without delay so that it is independently time-stamped and kept available at a fixed URL indefinitely. There is no charge for this service. viXra is a non-profit website run by volunteers for the scientific community.
viXra does not seek to build a good reputation by filtering out submitted papers on the basis of quality. Any paper will be accepted provided it is intended as a work of science or mathematics. Submissions may be rejected or withdrawn for being in the wrong format or because there is a risk of legal issues (e.g. if they might include threats, defamation, copyright violations or obscenities) but they are not reviewed or rejected according to the correctness of the work. Because of this policy it is inevitable that viXra contains some works of low quality. It is important to appreciate that it is not the purpose of a repository to give credibility to accepted papers. That can only be achieved through careful evaluation such as the process of expert peer-review or the accumulation of positive citations. This also means that any paper in a repository should be judged on its own merits and not according to the quality of other papers it is archived with. There is no reason why authors or intelligent readers should be influenced by online commentators who pass sardonic remarks about the quality of some of the papers in viXra. There is a growing number of researchers who are beginning to understand the purpose of viXra who are finding interesting papers here. An independent survey estimated that about 15% of papers in viXra have passed peer-review by an academic journal (arxiv:1211.1036) This is despite the many obstacles faced by scientists whose ideas often fall outside mainstream research.
The founders of viXra believe that the universal right of free speech applies to all works of science and all researchers should be allowed to place their ideas in public view for scrutiny. There have been many historical cases where work supressed by the experts of the day turned out to be correct and important (see "Crackpots" who were right). A paper which is seen by many to contain just errors might also contains a good original idea that someone else will notice. It is even possible that a work which is completely wrong may nevertheless inspire someone else to look at a problem in a new way and make progress. There is no reason to remove any work from public view provided readers understand that it may not have been reviewed or endorsed by anyone.
Acceptance into viXra does not constitute a publication of research in the academic sense since no quality review takes place. Authors retain their copyright and may submit the same work to a journal and other repositories. Any submission can also be updated or withdrawn by the author(s) at any time.
Acceptance onto viXra is just a first step which needs to be followed up by submitting to a journal or just publicising the work on a personal blog to make it more accessible to non-experts. Above all, authors should continue to follow developments in their field of interest and refine their ideas in further publications. It is usually very hard for independent scientists to get feedback on their work and recognition can take a long time. Readers are encouraged to leave helpful comments on the viXra's abstract pages.
For more information and answers to common questions see our FAQ
If you have some research to submit write it up as a paper with the title, author name and abstract on the first page and convert it to PDF format. When you are ready, click on the submit button to bring up the submission form.