The idea is to have a database of open research problems where the answers will be updates or suggested approaches. One research problem per post. This is in the spirit of Polymath.
- Currently to find research problems one has to dig deep into papers or email the authors for suggestions. But a powerful forum like stack-exchange will be able to serve as a large database for researchers to browse for problems to work on next.
- It will be a great place to not only share research problems but also our ideas on attacking these problems. This is the main function of conferences so it would be great to have an online forum that serves this same purpose especially for early researchers who cannot afford going to all the different conferences.
- This should be a separate site from MO because many of these posts will not be answerable in the short term. Otherwise, if we start adding such posts in MO (eg. under the tag "open problems"), they will quickly crowd the usual MO posts which can be answered in the short term.
- Conversely the answerable MO posts under the tag "open problems" will distract from the database questions. For example, there will be no questions of the form "open problems in random graphs" or "dissertations that solved an open problem". I think each post should be devoted to one open problem only.
By having the wiki-structure users will be able to create updates on the original post.
An alternative is just continue to add content in the Wikipedia article on open problems. However, the site will quickly become crowded as subproblems are being added.
- I think it will have a great longevity due to the good robustness of SE sites. Most professors are posting their research problems in their individual websites, which cannot be edited by others and worse might get taken down after the professor retires.
- It will complement the OpenGarden and the OpenProblems projects. The SE version will serve as a large database for the research problems out there and their corresponding approaches. The OpenGarden will be the more monitored and formal version to avoid the ambiguities from the SE version. The SE version will serve as the place for the raw input of research problems and approaches.
We will greatly appreciate any comments. If you are interested follow the proposal to help it pass through phase one: the link is Open research problems in math
We got 5 follows and so it will at least survive as a proposal for a while.
The proposal was closed in Area51 because it was seen as too close to MO and mathSE. Some colleagues and I have already started efforts on creating an SE-like forum for this proposal that if successful will hopefully one day picked by the SE network.
However, in the meantime we created a separate post in meta-MO to incubate on ideas in creating such a database as part of MO itself.