Drilling into what it means to be a scholar, irrespective of whether you’re affiliated with an academic institution or not.

See the page My Independent Scholarship for information about my attempts to be/become a scholar.

Some of this is oriented towards acquiring research skills necessary to do research on your own. Like learning what you’d get from a PhD program, but on your own.

As in my discussion from July 2021:

From talking with professors and people who went to grad school (mostly PhDs, I think), my impression has been that in grad school / while pursuing their PhDs, beyond acquiring more knowledge about their field, they learned/developed an interesting sense of thinking about problems and a mindset or orientation towards addressing them that I haven’t quite found among people that haven’t gone through the grad school / PhD process.

For those of you that have had that experience or perceived it in others, please let me know and give me a description of it.

I’ve heard things about grad school that suggest to me that I might not want to go through the experience (highly political and stressful), but I’m quite interested in developing/acquiring for myself what I have perceived in others who have gone through it.

Relevant Books

  • Destination Dissertation: A Traveler’s Guide to a Done Dissertation, which relates to knowing what a PhD and dissertation is and entails
  • Independent Scholar’s Handbook




Various, (currently) unstructured notes

Be an independent scholar

Meta concerns articulated in the EconTalk podcast where the guy talked about peer review being just one of many potential ways of conducting research and participating in the scholarly community.

  • Get the link to this podcast episode

Making research-oriented decisions about whether to do something: episode 153 of Effort Report podcast, 33:55 - https://player.fm/1BMhBmU?t=2035

It seems to be much less frequent that a person with only a Bachelor’s degree or less chooses and persists with the independent researcher life. It seems to be possible but difficult, especially in infrastructure-heavy fields like physics.


As a possibly conservative estimate, for every 1 professor in academia, there might be 1 person that’s outside of academia who is interested in doing academic/scholarly things. Assuming only that much, you have a basic sense of the size of the market for such materials. (This relates well to PeerJoy estimates of people with interests in area.)