Blockchain technology has undoubtedly a massive potential in fields of finance. However, several institutions are planning to introduce the revolutionary technology into scientific organizations. Many already have initiated pilot programs to embrace the distributed ledger technology.
Jack of All Trades
The much-hyped technology also can transform the scientific landscape. According to a report conducted by Digital Science, the technology can solve several problems in the science industry primarily related to authorship. Additionally, blockchain has the potential to store data that can neither be erased or corrupted allowing publications to record permanent decisions which in return improves the review process. As with the crypto space overall, some are still doubtful of its use in science mainly due to the cost. Scientists predict the cryptographic technology can not only help the environment but also can bring a lot of change in the food safety, medicine, and research fields. Moreover, it can be instrumental in the animal safety industry by recording an animal’s date of birth, their medications and also can accurately record locations as to where they are kept.
Blockchain Scientific Record Keeping Projects
Scienceroot, a blockchain based scientific ecosystem, is working on a pilot project that will assist authors and peer reviewers via a reward system. The firm prides itself on being the “first blockchain-based ecosystem enabling the academic community to reap its rewards.” The company hosts a collaboration platform, funding platform, journal and plans to raise $20 million by the first half of 2018. Scienceroot will trade its science tokens with Ether, another virtual currency.
Pluto, a similar blockchain project, provides a decentralized scholarly communication platform that aims to “make scholarly communication reasonable and transparent.”
The blockchain technology can be very beneficial for researchers as it can assist them in gathering and conserving data of research activities. As per Joris Van Rossum, special projects Director at the London based research company Digital Science, the nascent technology will make it easier to emulate results where published accounts do not have a clear set-out method or system. Moreover, the revolutionary technology can help track activities through the peer-review process. This in return would award critics with virtual currency. Additionally, the public ledger will also allow reviewers to monitor how often scientific researchers gather computations.
Currency free science
Gideon Greenspan, the founder of Coin Science, another London-based blockchain technology company, says Scienceroot and Pluto are both elements of the same “universe.”. The company is planning to provide an open-source, decentralized platform dubbed Multichain. Researchers could use the platform to upload data to the publicly shared digital ledger which won’t be controlled by any individual or group. Greenspan opposes blockchain projects of Scienceroot and Pluto as it can get very costly to record and maintain all data in the long run. According to Greenspan, recording research data can be even more expensive than cryptocurrencies as it produces more data than virtual currencies.
Tamper Proof Technology Can Be a Drawback
Claudia Pagliari, a researcher of digital health tracking, also believes blockchain will find a prospective home in the scientific field. Although, a drawback of the technology is that if someone adds fake data on the network, it is impossible to erase it due to its tamper-proof feature. Contrary Martin Hamilton, futuristic at Jisc, a digital solution provider for education and research, said, “There will be things that we try which simply blow up in our faces. But the rewards can be huge if you’re willing to take a calibrated risk.” Will scientific research institutes embrace the blockchain technology? Let us know your thoughts in comments section.