Blockchain for research: Review

Digital Science’s paper is one of the first looking at the application of blockchain technology in scholarly publishing

Tom Hill

2018

Scholarcy highlights

  • Digital Science’s paper is one of the first looking at the application of blockchain technology in scholarly publishing
  • Until the publication of Blockchain for Research, little had been written on the possible applications of blockchain technology in scholarly publishing
  • The report proposes sweeping changes to the scholarly publishing eco-system in favour of a monolithic blockchain platform: ‘working on a blockchain would mean that whenever researchers create or interact with content in whatever way and at whatever stage, their interaction would be stored in a single platform’
  • A useful counterpoint is provided by Eefke Smit, who observes that while the current diverse scholarly publishing eco-system faces some challenges, it is strong, efficient, and serves a relatively large global audience of 10–20 million researchers and scientists
  • While blockchain has great merit as a solution to problems like study design registration, academic endorsement, usage tracking, and rights management, the important outcome is the successful resolution of these problems, not that blockchain technology is implemented as the solution
  • Blockchain’s greatest benefit to the scholarly publishing eco-system may instead be to provide us with a new prism to understand both the evolving expectations of researchers and scientists, and where our own communication systems are weakest and opportunities for improvements that benefit our stakeholders are most compelling

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