The Wave of Web 3.0: Scientific DAOs Can’t Be Absent

Science is the foundation of knowledge and progress, and as an essential public good, science requires reliable, transparent and open access. This article discusses how the current state of science can improve in all of these areas. Web3 technologies offer exciting possibilities for changing the status quo, and a new Decentralized Science (DeSci) movement is starting to use these new technologies to improve science.

Technological innovations have historically led to dramatic improvements in our ability to produce, validate, preserve and disseminate knowledge. From the invention of printing in the 15th century, which first made possible the mass dissemination of knowledge, to the invention of the Internet in the 20th century, it greatly reduced the transaction costs of sharing information.

What is the problem with scientific publishing?

The scientific publications market is dominated by five large for-profit companies (Elsevier, Black & Wiley, Taylor & Francis, Springer Nature, and SAGE), which together control more than 50% of the market. Worldwide sales of rights to scientific papers exceed $19 billion, and the scientific publishing industry sits between the music and film industries in terms of revenue.

The two main business models for publishing companies are “pay-to-access” and “pay-to-publish”. Both models rely on the unpaid labor of scientists to conduct peer review. This amounts to scientists involuntarily donating billions of dollars to the publishing industry, using mostly public funds or researchers’ private time to boost publishers’ profits and depriving scientists of a fair return for high-quality refereeing work. Here’s a great quiz from the University of Virginia to get a feel for the importance of money.

Pay to visit

In a paid-access model, journals charge individuals and institutions (such as university libraries) a subscription or access fee. Annual subscriptions typically cost hundreds of dollars per journal, and access to individual articles typically costs between $20 and $100.

Institutional subscribers such as universities, libraries, and governments get bundled “deals” that often include not only the publisher’s top-ranked journals, but also a large number of niche or low-impact journals, if those journals are not in the bundled deal , subscribers may not be willing to pay. This practice of exploiting market dominance by bundling goods is a powerful anti-competitive tactic to consolidate market positions. Incumbents can protect their market from competition from newcomers by taking a large portion of a library’s budget in one transaction.

Journal subscriptions under this model are a huge burden on public funds. For example, the UK spent $52.3 million on annual journal subscriptions in 2014, while the Netherlands paid more than $14 million in 2018 for its public universities to subscribe to journals from just one major publishing house (Elsevier). While public money spends heavily on journal subscription fees, taxpayers – who fund most research and journal subscription fees – don’t get the science their taxes pay for.

Paid Publishing

In the “paid publishing” model, authors pay a fee for each article they publish (ie, author publishing fees – APCs). In contrast to the “pay-to-access” model, these articles are usually published under open access agreements, which allow the public to access the content online. Publishing fees vary by journal and article type, with typical publication fees ranging from $2,000 to $11,800. Scientists either pay for these costs out of their research budget, out of pocket, or rely on their employers, such as universities, to pay for them. The total number and market share of pay-to-access journals is growing every year.

At the heart of the “pay-to-publish” model is a perverse incentive mechanism: authors of articles only pay when the manuscript is accepted. This means that for every manuscript rejected, the journal loses potential revenue. Hence, open access Journals are often less restrictive in choice to maintain their business model. While open access journals lower the barriers to knowledge access and many are of high quality, on the whole this model leads to predatory journals The worldwide popularity has lowered standards and opened the floodgates to research of little value.

As a result, our science curation system is caught in a dilemma: subscription-based publishers on the one hand control distribution channels and have proven to be a tenacious, unshakable powerhouse of extracting capital from taxpayer dollars. Their highly discerning flagship journals allow for lucrative bundling deals. At the same time, on the other side, the Open Access model thrived on volume and enabled the global rise of predatory publishers, flooding the scientific literature with bogus, unreliable, and even plagiarized reports masquerading as science.

Finally, both “pay-to-access” and “pay-to-publish” models exaggerate inequalities and limit opportunities for progress and development by excluding scientists from the vast majority of low-end institutions and people from developing countries from scientific participation. Chance.

A new paradigm is needed to break exploitation

The latest innovations involve human coordination and redistribution of value using web3 technologies, which aim to achieve a decentralized version of the internet. Web3 is a peer-to-peer based network with an increasing number of self-certified, large-scale multi-client databases called blockchains.

Just like the early web in the 1990s, Web3 is now in an experimental phase. Skeptics rightly point out that the space is currently riddled with scams and excessive marketing hype. However, there are also some major technological breakthroughs that could be used to create a better, more open, more verifiable and secure scientific record.

We’ve found at least six ways in which web3 breakthroughs can benefit science and scientists:

  • new ways of working together
  • More transparent and changeable incentive structures
  • Decentralized data and metadata storage
  • Validated study subjects
  • New forms of identity management
  • New ways to fund research

new ways of working together

The core promise of web3 is to execute code in a trustless, censorship-resistant manner, coordinated through a peer-to-peer network, to broadly redistribute value to users through incentivized coordination of stakeholders. Built on top of these networks are Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), communities of contributors and active users who collaborate by jointly owning and co-managing these networks.

More transparent, changeable incentive structures

The programmability, composability, and trustless execution of smart contracts create a rich experimental space for mechanism design. A transparent incentive system can be coordinated programmatically without relying on trust in intermediaries. All events are recorded on an open, immutable ledger. These self-certified, large-scale, multi-client databases can be used to greatly improve scientific accessibility, transparency, and credibility.

Decentralized data and metadata storage

Web3-native interoperable data models like IPLD, combined with storage incentive layers like Filecoin, could make science permanently accessible to everyone. Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) on web3 are replaced by Content Identifiers (CIDs). Unlike PIDs, CIDs are encrypted to provide a tamper-proof mapping of their base content.

Unlike DOIs (PIDs and Primary Keys for the Publishing Industry), Web3’s CIDs can be published at will, are immune to link rot, are immune to corrupted content, are traditionally expensive to maintain, and rely on a centralized publishing industry-controlled mechanism. The transition from web2 PIDs to web3 CIDs will be a paradigm shift, with our ability to generate rich interconnected, immutable knowledge graphs (CID-graphs) and automatically generate rich scientific metadata from these relationships. Such a web3 knowledge graph will reveal new information about connections within a research field.

Verified study subjects

The move to web3 will also be a step to overcome the outdated legacy of static print and PDF technologies used to share scientific knowledge, to a rich, dynamic research object combining text, code, data, video, peer review, annotations and comments, allowing tracking Development of research objects, including version management, citations, replication status, and on-chain verification of open science practices, badges, and replication status.

Research objects will be bundled in reproducible code docks and allow for the systematic reconstruction of research results through reproducibility runs. Decentralized computing solutions combined with fully homomorphic encryption will allow users to share sensitive data in a privacy-preserving manner, opening the door to broad reusability and protection of commercializable scientific intellectual property.

New Forms of Identity Management

Web3 also empowers anonymous identities to link individual contributions to science with contributions across platforms (e.g. authors, peer reviewers, scientific reviews) in a tamper-proof and auditable way. By combining “proof of skills” with anonymity, it is possible to create a scientific ecosystem while promoting public debate and reducing bias.

The scientific expertise of anonymous contributors can be demonstrated through zk-SNARKs connected to a decentralized identity management system. Such a system would allow credit to flow back to scientists.

New ways to fund research

DAOs bring innovation to the way crowdfunding is organized. For example, VitaDAO collects funds from its members for longevity-related research that could lead to entrepreneurship or patents. In return for research funding, DAO members become the (co-)owners of the intellectual property generated by the research. Unlike traditional finance, web3 offers programmable funding channels that can be combined with research results and held securely in escrow accounts until certain conditions are met.

For example, a funder can announce a research question or initiative in a node and dedicate money to its wallet. Other parties can easily increase funding, effectively pooling donations from different sponsors. Research teams apply, their proposals are evaluated, and funding is matched. Such a system would be faster, more efficient and more flexible than ordinary funding schemes, allowing rapid responses to new challenges such as outbreaks. This model has been successfully tested in the context of Gitcoin grants.

Thus, the DeSci movement can support the efforts of the scientific community to change the way research is funded and the way knowledge is validated, and ultimately shared, helping to transfer ownership of scientific knowledge and its value from intermediaries to the scientists who create that value.

By indexing research objects on-chain and linking them to financial channels, we create a new primitive that combines the programmability of incentives with the production of scientific knowledge as dynamic research objects.

For example, we can automatically create escrow accounts to securely transfer funds between patrons, authors, research institutions, foundations, DAOs, and for-profit R&D at scale. These accounts are open to anyone to create validation grants: peer review grants, artifact evaluation grants, replication grants, and direct funding for post-review analysis programs. Unlike traditional banking systems, all financial transactions are recorded on-chain, providing complete transparency and auditability.

Combining on-chain research objects, tamper-proof data stored on IPFS, and trustless custodial-based accounts, we can create a one-click funding solution open to everyone with efficiency, traceability, and accessibility , addressing the entire scientifically validated space with surgical precision.

We call this concept “DeSci nodes” – because they are inherent in the web3 stack. This has the potential to greatly increase the speed of scientific validation and accelerate the investment of research funding, which is especially useful for finding fast, reliable ways to tackle new challenges.

Scientific selection and validation

A core feature of scientific careers is the selection of research articles into journals and conferences on the basis of peer review. Although we discussed the shortcomings of the current system in our first three blog posts, it is still critical for scientists to obtain funding from institutional sources. The traditional system is here to stay because of the prestige it carries and the sticky incentive system that universities, research institutes and funding agencies have built around them.

DeSci can complement and improve the status quo by providing on-demand verification services of research objects and artifacts (e.g., peer-reviewed ACM badges, OSF badges, FAIR data). Additionally, replication research can be clearly incentivized, and the reproducibility of results can be independently verified and indexed on-chain. This holistic curation service is conducted in the open domain and does not require copyright or other intellectual property rights to the research subjects. This will allow scientists to continue publishing their manuscripts in the existing journals most relevant to them, while making validated research subjects open and free to all.

Securely stored and authenticated research objects can also help editors of scientific journals to evaluate the submissions they receive faster and better. On-chain proofs of reproducibility, validation badges for FAIR data, and open science practices will signal to editors which submissions are most likely to report true, reproducible findings. This can help ambitious submissions succeed, reduce fraud, and speed up journal turnaround times.

Scientific Association as a DAO

One way of coordinating the validation of research objects indexed on-chain (peer review, artifact evaluation, replication evaluation) is for a scientific association to run a DAO stack (essentially an OSS preprint validation overlay for coordinating micro tasks, Integrate with the chain that stores research objects and assign credits to scientists).

Such DAOs should be run by well-known scientists in each field and enable them to monetize and share the value created by their services with each other, for example by collecting validation grants and automatically redistributing them to stipends in the form of fellowships Early career researchers involved in DAOs.

A DAO that returns value to scientists

Designing sustainable mechanisms to create value redistribution away from big publishers and towards a decentralized scientific community is urgent now. Talented scientists around the world need new ways to improve their economic conditions. Structural factors such as rising inflation and stagnant wages, combined with the increasing allocation of grant money to a younger generation of chief scientists, have created an unsustainable economic situation for early career scientists. The situation is so dramatic that even a few hundred dollars a month can make a huge difference in the life of a talented early-stage researcher.

DeSci Labs is building an ARC for this purpose

Table 2 below summarizes the main differences in how studies are assessed and selected in the traditional system and in DeSci.

The Wave of Web 3.0: Scientific DAOs Can't Be Absent

Relinking influence and replicability

In many academic fields, the current scientific record favors novelty at the expense of reproducibility (Why Science Faces a Credibility Crisis). This bias undermines the credibility and legitimacy of science, and carries huge societal costs. One of the core reasons for the replication crisis is the lack of clear incentives for scientists to share research outside their manuscripts, conduct replication studies, and consider the replicability of their new discoveries from the outset. DeSci can change that by establishing clear incentives for replication.

Towards a world where knowledge is publicly replicable, verifiable, accessible — and brings value to scientists

Taken together, the vision we outline here will improve the reliability, transparency and accessibility of research. It also allows scientists to capture some of the value they create with their work. In addition, it allows institutional and private sponsors of science, as well as the private sector, to direct funding to the topics, teams and methods they see as the most valuable and promising in a fast, capital-efficient and flexible manner, with full transparency.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/the-wave-of-web-3-0-scientific-daos-cant-be-absent/
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