Why are only a few Numenta papers published in scientific journals?

Here, we apparently have all “research papers” produced by Numenta members/researchers. Some of these papers, e.g. A Theory of How Columns in the Neocortex Enable Learning the Structure of the World (by J. Hawkins, S. Ahmad & Yuwei Cui), have been published in journals (in the case of this specific paper, it’s Frontiers in Neural Circuits). However, other papers produced by Numenta (e.g. Untangling Sequences: Behavior vs. External Causes) have not yet been published in or accepted by any journal, which may induce people to think that those papers are not “serious enough” or scientific.

I didn’t read any of these papers. But why is Numenta sharing papers without even publishing them in renowned and respected scientific journals?

  1. Isn’t Numenta just risking to, in my opinion, rightly, being criticized by the scientific community because of this unscientific approach?

  2. Are those papers which have not been published in any respected scientific journal “unscientific” indeed? Why or why not?

  3. How can we trust Numenta research if it’s not been reviewed by any other expert in the field of neuroscience or computational neuroscience (or, in general, related fields)?

Please, answer only if you’re a Numenta member.


Maybe get an e-mail or something instead of adding disclaimers like this in each and every public post ?

I want everyone to see and know the answer(s).


Disclaimer: I’m not a Numenta representative.


  1. Are you not aware that it takes time for papers to be published?
  2. Is there anything wrong with making research publicly available before it is “officially” published? If so, what? I mean, after all, how does work get laterally reviewed if there’s no access to it? Seems weirdly paradoxical to me? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
  3. I’m unfamiliar with the protocol for sharing scientific data, but you’re tone seems a might inflammatory - just sayin’…

I’m not a Numenta person or bonafide paper publisher or anything, but I would say that some speculative - or even dismissive - reception seems inevitable to all new technologies on the way from obscurity to widespread use. I’m excited to see threads like this pop up and appreciate @nbro for sparking it.


Agreed! I’m happy there is urgent engagement in assessing the relevance of HTM Theory, to be sure! Rock on! :slight_smile:


I, for one, am very excited at the possibility to read about Numenta’s research even before it has made it through the acceptation process. And if by making it happen, Numenta exposes itself to losing credibility, then I’m all the more grateful to them, for taking the risk.

But I believe it’s nice to see that people care so much about Numenta being criticized, then…

I don’t think this community was devoid of any willigness to expose criticism in the first place, even before today. And as some pointed out there were already thoughtful and interesting debates happening over some important issues in this very forum. The simple fact that Numenta provides this forum and allocates resources for managing the community is a hint that they care about listening to it.
Imho we, as a community can, at the very least, acknowledge their efforts and be reasonable in how we “require” them to be this or that or to answer to peter and paul.


Yes, but there are papers (of the late 2014 and maybe of previous years) that, if I understood correctly, have not even been submitted for peer-review. They just shared them. Either there was no interest in publishing them in scientific journals (but why then???) or, maybe, they tried but the papers were rejected (more likely option!).

It’s ok to share knowledge. But some of these papers have not been reviewed after 3-4 years. Why? If I understood correctly, they didn’t even try to publish certain papers in scientific journals (they just shared them). This is what I am concerned about. Why is this the case (if this is true)?

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What? I hope you’re not serious. I only asked a question that all of us interested in HTM should ponder over.

This has nothing to do with my questions. I have a few simple questions. They should be very easy to answer. I don’t see the point of discussing other topics or the efforts that Numenta is doing. We are having this debate because no one that posted an answer is from Numenta. I even used bold font, but no one paid attention.

Is it expected practice to publish every idea which is captured in written form? Can an organization post information which captures new thought, or discoveries or new implementations - without publishing them in official publications? Are all ideas publish worthy? Can there be ideas which support other findings which are captured in written form but are not published?

I know that I am biased, but it seems highly constraining that there may be such rigorous “rules” around how information is shared - and commensurate presumptions for how organizations should behave regarding the sharing of ideas?


In the academic world the imperative is to “publish or perish” and this leads to string of almost identical or rehashes of prior papers. Many important industrial processes have had every bit as much research but forbid the researchers from publishing at all.
Numenta is not an academic institution but does encourages sharing of the research. Finally - this forum exist to nurture the community around the core ideas.
I see the three big central ideas as:
Predictive cells
Location coding
All of these ideas are covered in released papers. I don’t see a huge deficit in communication here. I also don’t see a huge advantage in having dozens of additional papers that basically say the same thing as what they have already said.
As far as peer-review - I don’t need a fan club to bless the papers; what I have learned from reading and understanding is enough for me to gain important new tools in my own work.


I swear I did


I am not here to answer your questions (even if I could say something about it). Moreover, your questions seem to be just an attempt to get me disinterested in getting answers to my questions (I encourage you not to comment on this statement!). Indeed, I want answers to my questions from Numenta (and not any other person). I just want answers, a logical explanation. I am not against anyone or anything. But it seems to me that you see me as a threat. I am not your enemy!

It seems a bit presumptuous to assume that if you just broadcast into the void as you have that anyone will get it.

As you may be aware / the Numenta employee that in charge of of this forum is mostly out for the next two weeks.

If you want an answer from someone - email them directly or wait until Matt is back.



Dude chill.

All of my questions are merely meant to get you to distinguish between what may be arbitrary standards which you are putting forth and may not be expectations that are widely held protocols. In addition, I’m trying to learn just how much is merely a presumption on your part and what is expected as accepted protocol in this arena - as an honest attempt to learn something.

I’m sorry if you think I am trying to purposely distract you or attack you - I’m merely interested in what conventions support your expectations and which are merely a fabrication of yours. I honestly don’t know and would be contributed to greatly if someone clued me in?

Thank you for this info. I will wait for him. Meanwhile, I see no point in discussing other (slightly) different topics under my original post.

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I will respond to your qeustions @nbro, but I am out of the office right now, and I don’t have time to give them the attention they deserve at the moment. In the meantime, I’m going to close this discussion. I will re-open it when I respond. I hope you understand why I’m doing this. Please give me a day or two to find the time.