Journal article Open Access

Blockchain for Open Science and Knowledge Creation

Bartling, Sönke; et contributors to living document

Blockchain is a computer protocol involving cryptography, a new way to look at databases and socio-cultural-legal-politcal-economical (r)evolution and knowledge creation will be affected by it.

Blockchain has the capacity to make digital goods immutable, transparent, externally provable, decentralized, and distributed. Besides the initial experiment and data acquisition, all remaining parts of the research cycle could take place within a blockchain system. Attribution, data,  subject anonymity, data postprocessing (e.g. via smart contracts), publication, research evaluation, incentivisation, and research fund distribution would thereby become time-stamped, comprehensible, open (at will) and provable to the external world. Currently, scientists must be trusted to provide a true and useful representation of their research results in their final publication; blockchain would make much larger parts of the research cycle open to scientific self-correction. This bares the potential to be a new approach to the current reproducibility crisis in science, and could ‘reduce waste and make more research results true’. Beyond that, this could be used to reduce overhead and accelerate the scientific process and incentivise true innovation.

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