Decentralized science (DeSci) aims to reimagine how scientific research is conducted and disseminated.
At its core, DeSci leverages the power of Web3 technologies and blockchain tools to create a global, open ecosystem for scientific knowledge.
Why DeSci matters
DeSci is driven by the belief that scientific knowledge should be a public good, and that the research process should be transparent.
Traditional science has faced issues like centralized control of funding, limited collaboration, opaque publication processes, and restricted data access. DeSci seeks to address these challenges due to blockchain technology.
Challenges in traditional scientific research
- Limited funding control: Research funding is often controlled by small and centralized groups, limiting the diversity of funded projects and researchers.
- Collaboration barriers: Institutions and funding organizations can restrict collaborations, hindering the formation of dynamic global research teams.
- Resource sharing obstacles: Sharing laboratory resources within traditional science is often a slow and opaque process, impeding efficient research.
- Unpaid peer review: Peer reviewers typically go unpaid, benefiting for-profit publishers while adding to the workload of scientists.
- Opaque intellectual property ownership: Institutions own the intellectual property generated by researchers, with limited transparency in accessing and managing IP.
- Publication bias: Researchers may be more inclined to share experiments with successful results due to publication bias, potentially leading to an incomplete scientific record.
Key advantages of decentralized science
Democratic fund distribution
Public participation through mechanisms like quadratic donations or DAOs determines fund allocation, promoting inclusivity.
DeSci enables dynamic collaboration with peers worldwide, fostering diverse and innovative research teams.
Transparent funding decisions
Funding decisions are made online with full transparency, and novel funding mechanisms are actively explored to enhance accessibility.
Streamlined laboratory sharing
Blockchain tools simplify and enhance the transparency of laboratory resource sharing, promoting efficiency in research.
Innovative publishing models
New publishing models prioritize trust, transparency, and universal access, revolutionizing how research is disseminated.
IP ownership and transparency
Researchers own the intellectual property they generate and have the autonomy to distribute it under clear and transparent terms.
Complete research traceability
DeSci ensures the sharing of all research steps, including data from unsuccessful efforts, by recording each phase on-chain, enhancing research accountability and learning.
Unlocking the power of DeSci through blockchain
1. Smart contracts for peer review: DeSci leverages smart contracts to directly connect authors and peer reviewers, rewarding the latter with tokens for their invaluable reviews.
2. Empowering incentivized communities: Tokens and NFTs incentivize scientific communities to collaborate, review, and curate information into valuable resources.
3. Guarding against censorship: The blockchain’s characteristics, ensuring eternal data accessibility, serve as a potent weapon against scientific censorship, countering any attempts to manipulate research for political motives.
4. Blockchain-based funding models: DeSci pioneers explore token launches for research funding. Future avenues encompass adapting blockchain-based public good funding models, integrating DeFi protocols for sustainable scientist funding.
5. Verifiable digital reputation: Blockchain allows scientists to earn NFTs for diverse valuable contributions beyond publishing metrics. These NFT collections create a digital reputation, reinforcing positive contributions and promoting collaboration.
6. DeSci in education: As academia embraces online learning, DeSci ecosystems offer an appealing alternative. Students can learn while building their digital reputations by participating in community tasks. This rewards contributions to science during the learning process, democratizing access to scientific progress.
7. Community-driven scientific knowledge: DeSci empowers communities to become “shareholders” of scientific knowledge through IP-NFTs owned by DAOs. Profits from these assets fund the creation of new knowledge, fostering self-sustaining scientific ecosystems.
DeSci in action: use cases
Here are just some of the DeSci platforms already helping researchers around the world make scientific inquiry better, more efficient, and fairer.
VitaDAO is a community-owned blockchain startup dedicated to funding and advancing longevity science research. VitaDAO invests in groundbreaking research projects, for example, approaches to fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
Ceramic is a public, decentralized, censorship-resistant network for managing mutable information on the open internet without databases or servers.
SpaceChain is a blockchain software company making open-source satellite software that enables satellite integration with blockchain nodes.
Perlara PBC is a startup researching drug candidates using CRISPR-engineered animals like yeast, nematodes, fruit flies, and zebrafish.
By harnessing the potential of Web3 technologies, DeSci is revolutionizing how scientific research is conducted, funded, and shared, ushering in an era of openness, transparency, and collaboration in science.
The demand for blockchain solutions is poised for significant growth as the fusion of SciTech and Web3 holds immense promise. While numerous startups and global companies are actively engaged in this field today, it’s evident that major scientific institutes, universities, and governments will soon seek these solutions.
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