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Experts explain blockchain initiatives and opportunities for research, digital rights management, peer review

In this interview, Joris van Rossum (Director of Special Projects, Digital Science) and author of Blockchain for Research, and Martijn Roelandse (Head of Publishing Innovation, Springer Nature), discuss blockchain in scholarly communications, including the recently launched Peer Review Blockchain initiative…We’ve explored the possibilities and initiatives in a report published by Digital Science. The blockchain could be applied on several levels, which is reflected in a number of initiatives announced recently. For example, a cryptocurrency for science could be developed. This ‘bitcoin for science’ could introduce a monetary reward scheme to researchers, such as for peer review. Another relevant area, specifically for publishers, is digital rights management. The potential for this was picked up by this blog at a very early stage. Blockchain also allows publishers to easily integrate micropayments, thereby creating a potentially interesting business model alongside open access and subscriptions. Moreover, blockchain as a datastore with no central owner where information can be stored pseudonymously could support the creation of a shared and authoritative database of scientific events. Here traditional activities such as publications and citations could be stored, along with currently opaque and unrecognized activities, such as peer review. A data store incorporating all scientific events would make science more transparent and reproducible, and allow for more comprehensive and reliable metrics…”

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