Peer Review In the Age Of Viral Video

Recently, a YouTube video has been making the rounds online which shows a rather astounding comparison between two printed models of the US Capitol. Starting with the line “3-D PRINTERS CAN NOW PRINT TWICE AS FAST”, the video shows that one print took four hours to complete, and the other finished in just two hours by virtue of vibration reducing algorithms developed at the University of Michigan. The excitement around this video is understandable; one of the biggest limitations of current 3D printer technology is how long it takes to produce a model of acceptable quality, and if improvements to the software that drives these machines could cut total print time in half, the ramifications would be immense.

In only a few weeks the video racked up tens of thousands of views, and glowing articles popped up with headlines such as: “How to cut 3D print times in half by the University of Michigan” and “University of Michigan professor doubles 3D printing speeds using vibration-mitigating algorithm“. Predictably, our tips line lit up with 3D printer owners who wanted to hear more about the incredible research that promised to double their print speed with nothing more than a firmware update.

The only problem is, the video shows nothing of the sort. What’s more, when pushed for details, the creators of the video are now claiming the same thing.

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HJWYDK: the Journal our Community Has Been Awaiting

We’re excited to announce the Hackaday Journal of What You Don’t Know. This will be a peer-reviewed journal of white papers that goes well beyond “look what I did” and will provide full design, data, and everything else needed to reproduce the most interesting things the engineering world has to offer. It’s a complete description of your knowledge offered up for the benefit of all.

Topics will include original and creative research, engineering, and entertainment in the areas of interest to the Hackaday community. These papers should embody original insight, experience, or discovery in any sufficiently challenging domain knowledge. This will be the manual for the things you need to know, but probably don’t. HJWYDK makes that knowledge freely available using the Open Access model for publications. It will be a journal without paywalls or frustration. It’s the journal you will reach for whenever you need to do something that feels impossible.

Useful information doesn’t just happen. It’s won through struggle and leads to unique knowledge. Have your accomplishments recognized at a higher level, and make sure they live on and are freely available.

All papers accepted by the editorial and review process will be immediately published online. They will also be printed in the annual Proceedings of the Hackaday Superconference, with the best submissions invited to present in person at the conference. Submit your papers now!

We are currently seeking Associate Editors and Peer Reviewers. Editors should send your background info to Reviewers should join the team on the HJWYDK project page and mention your areas of expertise in the join request.

Become a Peer Reviewer for Citizen Scientist

One of the keys to our scientific community is the concept of Peer Review. When important discoveries are made, the work is reviewed by others accomplished in the same field to test the findings. This can verify the work, but it can also open up new questions and lead to new discoveries.

We’re adding Peer Review to the Hackaday Prize. It’s a new way to apply your skills for the benefit of all. The current challenge is Citizen Scientist; calling for projects that help make scientific research more widely available. A set of independent eyes giving constructive feedback to these entries can be a huge end run to success. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. Having help recognizing stumbling points, or just receiving a second opinion that you’re on the right track makes a big difference when treading in unknown territory.

Becoming a Peer Reviewer is simple. Pick a project you are interested in, review it thoroughly while making notes in a respectful, positive, and constructive way. When you’re ready, submit your Peer Review using this form. We will privately share your review with the project creator. is the most vibrant hardware collaboration platform in the world. Peer Review is yet another interesting way to get more brilliant minds in our community involved in building something that matters.

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