The Request for Plot (RFP) format

A Request for Plot (RFP) is a method for jump starting a decentralized collaboration by pitching a project starting with a big-picture idea and ending the pitch with a concrete description of the first plot that one would produce to start the project. It is a call for collaborators, and anyone that wishes to work on the project has only to produce the plot to start the collaboration!

An RFP is like a request for research (e.g. from OpenAI and from our own Sebastian Ruder). But whereas these requests for research often describe broader directions for inspiration, RFPs further ground it into a concrete first step for implementation and connote an open invitation for collaboration.

As we think deeper about how to make research ideas accessible, and distributed collaborations effective, RFPs seem like the right solution toward "a good bottleneck for sharing distributed collaborations." The core concept is to make the production of "one plot" the correct unit of currency in distributed research communication. Through this mechanism we urge both ends of the collaboration to work one step further towards effective communication: when pitching an idea, one not only thinks of the big picture but also outlines the concrete next step, and when asking to work with someone, one fulfills the request by bringing in the plot.

Hear Jason's explanation of the RFP in 80 seconds:

Example RFPs

Here is an example RFP from Jason Yosinski:

More examples coming soon.

Call for RFPs

If you'd like to help distribute research opportunities and help junior researchers get on track easier, consider making an RFP contribution to MLC! Our Open Collab community holds regular events where RFPs are shared and discussed, and those events are always 100% open to all. The upcoming one is Open Collab Research Jam #2.

To submit, you can make a copy of this template, and submit your finished RFP to the upcoming Open Collab Research Jam, or simply drop us an email at hello at mlcollective dot org !