Digital Science Report Reveals Potential Behind Blockchain Technology for Scholarly Communication and Research

New report considers the developments and varying perspectives of blockchain technology and its possible impact on the academic arena

Digital Science Report Reveals Potential Behind Blockchain Technology for Scholarly Communication and Research

Today, global technology company Digital Science has released a landmark report titled ‘Blockchain for Research – Perspectives on a New Paradigm for Scholarly Communication.’ The report offers a perspective on blockchain technology and how it could impact scholarly communication and research. It also features views from global industry experts on how future technologies in the scholarly arena will be impacted by blockchain technology.

In support of this new technology, Digital Science is offering a special Catalyst Grant of up to $30,000 / £25,000 specifically aimed at blockchain technologies in the scholarly arena. Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that has the promise to radically change many industries. The report zooms in on its potential to transform scholarly communication and research, focusing on important initiatives in this field. The report highlights how blockchain technology can touch many critical aspects of scholarly communication, such as transparency, open science, and reproducibility.

Towards an open and accessible Scholarly Communication

In fact, the report shown some of the main challenges that science has been facing in the past years, as reproducibility, peer review or commercial interests involves in those process. 

For them, The challenges in scholarly communication have inspired many initiatives that attempt to make science more open, transparent, rigorous and effective. Adopting a blockchain for research would mean that researchers work in a different way.

The report highlights the challenges scholarly communication face

That is why in a ‘blockchained’ science, this scholarly communication would look very different. Blockchain allows for decentralised, self-regulating data, creating a shared infrastructure where all transactions are saved and stored. Scientific information in its essence is a large, dynamic body of information and data that is collaboratively created, altered, used and shared which lends itself perfectly to the blockchain technology.

“Working on a blockchain would mean that whenever researchers create or interact with content in whatever way and at whatever stage, their interaction will be stored in a single platform. A big advantage that the blockchain brings is that it would make the platform decentralised, which means that there is no single owner, although everyone has access to the same information.”

Moreover, in a blockchain for research, critical aspects of scholarly communication such as trust, credit, universal access and – where required – anonymity, can be realised and safeguarded. Its potential relates to almost all stages in the researcher’s workflow.

A scientific Report

The report, written and produced by Dr. Joris van Rossum, includes interviews with industry experts including Dr. Soenke Bartling, a German radiologist and founder of Blockchain for Science; Eefke Smit, Director, Standards and Technology, International Association of STM Publishers; and Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandner is Head of the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.

Joris Van Rossum, Digital Science’s Director of Special Projects says that “Blockchain technology has the opportunity to positively impact scholarly practices and for example could even change the role publishers play in the scholarly ecosystem. The
potential extends to solving urgent crises in scholarly communication, such as around costs, trust, and universal accessibility to scientific information. This report for the first time digs deep into this promise with a look towards the future.”

Eefke Smit, International Association of STM Publishers, Director, Standards and
Technology, agreed “The STM publishing world is suffering its own set of trust issues at present. But even with its imperfections, the current system of academic publishing is strong and offers an efficient infrastructure. However, I could see current players adopting and creating bits of blockchain infrastructure where they can really make a differences. For the publishing world, blockchain technology is full of promises and for the first time this report collates a collection of insights into how this technology may overhaul the industry.”