The fundamental problem blocking open access and how to overcome it: the BitViews project

Abstract:  In our view the fundamental obstacle to open access (OA) is the lack of any incentive-based mechanism that unbundles authors’ accepted manuscripts (AMs) from articles (VoRs). The former can be seen as the public good that ought to be openly accessible, whereas the latter is owned by publishers and rightly paywall-restricted. We propose one such mechanism to overcome this obstacle: BitViews. BitViews is a blockchain-based application that aims to revolutionize the OA publishing ecosystem. Currently, the main academic currency of value is the citation. There have been attempts in the past to create a second currency whose measure is the online usage of research materials (e.g. PIRUS). However, these have failed due to two problems. Firstly, it has been impossible to find a single agency willing to co-ordinate and fund the validation and collation of global online usage data. Secondly, online usage metrics have lacked transparency in how they filter non-human online activity. BitViews is a novel solution which uses blockchain technology to bypass both problems: online AMS usage will be recorded on a public, distributed ledger, obviating the need for a central responsible agency, and the rules governing activity-filtering will be part of the open-source BitViews blockchain application, creating complete transparency. Once online AMS usage has measurable value, researchers will be incentivized to promote and disseminate AMs. This will fundamentally re-orient the academic publishing ecosystem. A key feature of BitViews is that its success (or failure) is wholly and exclusively in the hands of the worldwide community of university and research libraries, as we suggest that it ought to be financed by conditional crowdfunding, whereby the actual financial commitment of each contributing library depends on the total amount raised. If the financing target is not reached, then all contributions are returned in full and if the target is over-fulfilled, then the surplus is returned pro rata.

Academic-Led Journal Highlight: Interview with Naseem Naqvi

“When The British Blockchain Association decided to launch JBBA and began looking for the best means to publish the journal, Naqvi said he and his team were more concerned with soliciting quality articles and reaching the widest audience possible than with working with a known publisher. “Reputable publishers may impress some people but the majority of people are more interested in the quality of contents within the journal than who the publisher is,” explained Naqvi….”

Knowledgr

“Knowledgr is a network of structured, open-access micro-publications shared on a public blockchain that empowers scientists to self-govern how their research outputs are judged and rewarded. Knowledgr employs a transparent, community-derived, social-consensus algorithm that rewards observations, questions, and hypotheses with KNLG in proportion to each post’s intellectual value, as defined by the greater scientific community user base.

This format for communicating and rewarding scientific content creation establishes a new labor market for scientists that compensates their open-science efforts via evidence-based metrics designed to incentivize healthy, ethical, and efficient research behaviors….

All of the content published on Knowledgr’s blockchain will be openly available for anyone to use or reuse in anyway they see fit.

Everyone is able to earn KNLG for sharing their observations, questions, hypotheses and peer-review. Knowledgr creates a financial incentive for anyone, anywhere to share open knowledge….”

Decentralising scientific publishing: can the blockchain improve science communication?

Abstract:  We present a decentralised solution for managing scientific communication, based on distributed ledger technologies, also called blockchains. The proposed system aims to solve incentive problems displayed by traditional systems in scientific communication and publication. A minimal working model is presented, defining roles, processes, and expected results from the novel system. The proposed solution is viable, given the current status of blockchain technology, and should lead to a rethinking of current practices and their consequences for scientific communication.

Blockchain Solutions for Accelerating Innovation – From research to the next big thing. We help unleash it

“Identify the most promising research projects, with the highest scientific value and potential impact….

Launch an open access journal using the DEIP publishing infrastructure that provides a new business model for OA….

  • Protect copyrights via blockchain mechanisms – create tamper-proof evidence of ownership
  • Protect your ideas by securely recording them on blockchain
  • Share your ideas with employees or third-parties securely – track who’s viewed your idea …”

 

 

Interview with Alex Shkor of the Decentralised Research Platform DEIP | Eurodoc

Can you imagine a science that is totally open and accessible to the global scientific community and general public: where all research metadata and data is open; where collaboration across disciplines and countries happens instantaneously; where papers are written and reviewed openly and then published without embargoes in Open Access; and where researchers are financially and impactfully rewarded for all of their scientific activities?

Welcome to the new decentralised research platform DEIP! We started out as a team of decentralised systems scientists and professionals, who were working in Information Technology companies, and decided to fundamentally change the way science is funded, conducted, and rewarded so that researchers themselves co-determine the process. DEIP was founded in 2017 and is currently being beta-tested….

DEIP is an online decentralised research platform for and governed by researchers. The platform offers three essential features:

  • Open Access publishing of research papers
  • Open Peer Review of draft research papers
  • Open Funding of research project applications

DEIP enables researchers to work together and assess research projects and papers in an open environment that rewards all of their scientific contributions. The platform is built on blockchain technology and consists of a decentralised network. This means that DEIP is neither owned by the DEIP team or any other centralised body. The platform is designed to be governed directly by the scientific community so that they can define the activities and future of the platform as well as distribute funding….”

Blockchain technology may lead to true ebook ownership

“The vast majority of publishers use DRM to encrypt their ebooks and some retailers like Amazon have their own formats. Publishers have mandated that when you purchase an ebook, you are merely licensing it. There is no true sense of ownership. This has led to a crisis in confidence in the digital format because ebook stores can go out of business, shut down their systems and anyone who purchased an ebook is out of luck. Blockchain technology might change the game when it comes to ebooks, finally giving us true ownership….

There are two companies that are developing blockchain technologies for ebooks.  The e-book platforms from two startups — Scenarex, based in Montreal, and Publica, based in Gibraltar and Latvia….

The basic concept behind today’s e-book/blockchain startups is to emulate ownership — as a practical, technical matter — more closely than existing digital content distribution systems do. The idea is to use two properties of blockchains that help facilitate digital ownership. First, blockchains are ownerless, so that a record of file ownership on a blockchain is not controlled by a central distributor such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Second, blockchains are immutable, so that if a system puts an entry on a blockchain that you own an e-book, that entry is there to stay forever, even if the vendor whose technology you used to buy the e-book goes out of business. And if you sell the e-book to someone else, another entry goes onto the blockchain that also stays there, unaltered, in perpetuity.

In other words, blockchains enable transfers of ownership that are secure and not controllable by a third party after the fact. But there are other aspects to emulating ownership, such as not being able to send copies to your million best friends or keep your own copy after you’ve alienated it. For this, DRM is necessary. …”

imagjn – Bringing Trust to the World

“Science drives innovation. Unfortunately, scientific knowledge is locked behind closed doors. The current system requires academics to publish in high impact journals. This is inefficient knowledge sharing. It is slow, bureaucratic and requires academics to give away their copyright. Above all, it is very expensive. Each university has to pay 2-7 millions of euros per year in public money to obtain access to that research which was paid by them in the first place. It is a 32 billion market, controlled by five publishers who have a higher profit margin than Google. Money that could have been spent on research.

Imagjn open knowledge, where everybody has access to all scientific papers without artificial barriers such as paywalls. To do that, we have to change the rules in how we judge scientific impact. We should no longer focus on where someone publishes. Instead, we should focus on what someone publishes. Therefore, We want to move from a Journal Impact Factor to an Open Impact Factor, controlled and owned by academics. We develop a platform that simplifies writing, citing, reviewing and publishing scientific papers, making knowledge freely available to anyone….”

Blockchain and OECD data repositories: opportunities and policymaking implications | Library Hi Tech | Vol 37, No 1

Abstract:  The purpose of this paper is to employ the case of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data repositories to examine the potential of blockchain technology in the context of addressing basic contemporary societal concerns, such as transparency, accountability and trust in the policymaking process. Current approaches to sharing data employ standardized metadata, in which the provider of the service is assumed to be a trusted party. However, derived data, analytic processes or links from policies, are in many cases not shared in the same form, thus breaking the provenance trace and making the repetition of analysis conducted in the past difficult. Similarly, it becomes tricky to test whether certain conditions justifying policies implemented still apply. A higher level of reuse would require a decentralized approach to sharing both data and analytic scripts and software. This could be supported by a combination of blockchain and decentralized file system technology.

Design/methodology/approach

 

The findings presented in this paper have been derived from an analysis of a case study, i.e., analytics using data made available by the OECD. The set of data the OECD provides is vast and is used broadly. The argument is structured as follows. First, current issues and topics shaping the debate on blockchain are outlined. Then, a redefinition of the main artifacts on which some simple or convoluted analytic results are based is revised for some concrete purposes. The requirements on provenance, trust and repeatability are discussed with regards to the architecture proposed, and a proof of concept using smart contracts is used for reasoning on relevant scenarios.

Findings

 

A combination of decentralized file systems and an open blockchain such as Ethereum supporting smart contracts can ascertain that the set of artifacts used for the analytics is shared. This enables the sequence underlying the successive stages of research and/or policymaking to be preserved. This suggests that, in turn, and ex post, it becomes possible to test whether evidence supporting certain findings and/or policy decisions still hold. Moreover, unlike traditional databases, blockchain technology makes it possible that immutable records can be stored. This means that the artifacts can be used for further exploitation or repetition of results. In practical terms, the use of blockchain technology creates the opportunity to enhance the evidence-based approach to policy design and policy recommendations that the OECD fosters. That is, it might enable the stakeholders not only to use the data available in the OECD repositories but also to assess corrections to a given policy strategy or modify its scope.

Blockchain and OECD data repositories: opportunities and policymaking implications | Library Hi Tech | Vol 37, No 1

Abstract:  The purpose of this paper is to employ the case of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data repositories to examine the potential of blockchain technology in the context of addressing basic contemporary societal concerns, such as transparency, accountability and trust in the policymaking process. Current approaches to sharing data employ standardized metadata, in which the provider of the service is assumed to be a trusted party. However, derived data, analytic processes or links from policies, are in many cases not shared in the same form, thus breaking the provenance trace and making the repetition of analysis conducted in the past difficult. Similarly, it becomes tricky to test whether certain conditions justifying policies implemented still apply. A higher level of reuse would require a decentralized approach to sharing both data and analytic scripts and software. This could be supported by a combination of blockchain and decentralized file system technology.

Design/methodology/approach

 

The findings presented in this paper have been derived from an analysis of a case study, i.e., analytics using data made available by the OECD. The set of data the OECD provides is vast and is used broadly. The argument is structured as follows. First, current issues and topics shaping the debate on blockchain are outlined. Then, a redefinition of the main artifacts on which some simple or convoluted analytic results are based is revised for some concrete purposes. The requirements on provenance, trust and repeatability are discussed with regards to the architecture proposed, and a proof of concept using smart contracts is used for reasoning on relevant scenarios.

Findings

 

A combination of decentralized file systems and an open blockchain such as Ethereum supporting smart contracts can ascertain that the set of artifacts used for the analytics is shared. This enables the sequence underlying the successive stages of research and/or policymaking to be preserved. This suggests that, in turn, and ex post, it becomes possible to test whether evidence supporting certain findings and/or policy decisions still hold. Moreover, unlike traditional databases, blockchain technology makes it possible that immutable records can be stored. This means that the artifacts can be used for further exploitation or repetition of results. In practical terms, the use of blockchain technology creates the opportunity to enhance the evidence-based approach to policy design and policy recommendations that the OECD fosters. That is, it might enable the stakeholders not only to use the data available in the OECD repositories but also to assess corrections to a given policy strategy or modify its scope.