Up-Goer Five Research Challenge

The Up-Goer Five Research Challenge is an exciting initiative to explain your research using only the most common ten hundred words in the English language. It’s hard, but this movement is necessary. Using jargon and complex terms is a huge problem in science.

All this was inspired by XKCD’s Up-Goer Five.

And it’s not about dumbing down your research or the science. The goal is to be clear enough to communicate to people everywhere, including those without a background in science, those with a language barrier, and those kids who can be inspired to get into science.

My Up-Goer Five article

Have you noticed that Wikipedia is getting super technical? Some topics have absolutely incomprehensible Wikipedia articles. Of course, I’m attempting some Up-Goer Five style articles for quantum and deep learning.

I learned a few things from this challenge in just an hour.

First, in general, I didn’t try to use a lot of technical jargon. I obviously knew qubits, superposition, and entanglement are definitely NOT common words, so I didn’t try to use them. “Information” and “data” weren’t on the allowed words lists, so that was tough!

Second, I saw that the verbs I was trying to use were much more complex than they needed to be. I tried to use words like “Effected” and “interacted” and had to explain it in a simpler way. “Solve” became “figure out”, and explaining entanglement got changed to “work together”.

Third, my sentences are usually really long. I need to work on that!

This was a fantastic exercise. You may even learn a bit about your own communication style!

Join the Up-Goer Five Research Challenge

Don’t forget, this challenge is open to everyone. Open science is about bringing everyone in!

Don’t limit yourself if you’re not a scientist. If you’re learning something new, put those concepts into simple words to fully understand what you’ve learned. How many of you spent the holidays explaining bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to your family?

Here’s how to enter the challenge

In addition, there’s a nice tool to check that your writing only contains the allowed 1000 most common words: http://splasho.com/upgoer5/

The thread that inspired me, and other cool open science initiatives by @Authorea:

Have you joined the Up-Goer Five challenge? What have you learned?

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