Prospects for solving research problems using blockchain technologies
Any research requires quite a long and thorough work from scientists. Most of them may not give serious results, but become only part of the chain leading to something large-scale, while some developments are originally designed to be among the most important discoveries of mankind.
Unfortunately, today, modern science is in a state of crisis, especially in the countries of the post-Soviet space. The reasons for the current situation are many: this is the lack of adequate funding and material support for research and development, and “stagnant” academics within the walls of research institutes and academies of sciences, lack of motivation for young specialists, the presence of many bureaucratic formalities in processing the results, the high cost of publications in recognized publications, and practical Lack of ability to interact with colleagues abroad, etc.
All of the above has become a trigger for a large number of processes irreversible for science: the migration of promising personnel to other countries and the flow to other areas of activity, a reduction in the number of areas of scientific research, and a decrease in interest in them in society. The elimination of these factors in the framework of modern realities will require huge time and material costs.
Obviously, at this stage, science needs a “revolution”, cardinal changes are not just asking for themselves, they are vital to ensure that this area of activity does not disappear in principle.
Any research requires a result, confirmation, which the entire scientific community will be able to familiarize themselves with – publication in a prestigious international publication. It does not matter how global the scientist sets himself, the main thing is the number of publications he has published, the citation index and the Hirsch index of the author, because how much a grant he can get depends on this. An additional complication is that the article must be published in a publication that is quoted internationally, and this costs a lot of money. Separately, it is worth noting that subscriptions to such journals (Science, Nature, Cell, Elsevier) cost more than one hundred dollars, which many scientists simply cannot afford. Such monopoly publications earn huge money on exclusive publications without investing a dime in the research itself.
No less acute is the problem of performance. Modern society, weakly interested in scientific activity, nevertheless requires unambiguously positive research results. Everything must succeed: medicines for diseases should be timely, fast and “not expensive”, ways to preserve the ecology should be simple and affordable for everyone, food products must be of high quality and healthy. Today, neither the scientific community nor the philistine society takes into account the fact that a negative result is also a result, and it is no less important for research in any field, because further searches due to this result may turn out to be more significant and important. But the negative result of the study is tantamount to “professional suicide”, as the scientific community perceives failures extremely negatively. Therefore, scientists are forced to mask negative results, presenting them in a favorable light, which entails the formation of pseudoscience.
Another important problem of modern science is the short-term nature of grants (2-3 years): state funding is too scanty, so grant funds are spent on all needs, including salaries, and this entails the inability to start serious long-term research. As a result, there are many predictable studies that form the phenomenon of “safe science”, which constantly compete among themselves in the struggle for grants sponsoring all the same insignificant studies. Vicious circle.
In the context of this problem, one more emerges – the so-called “conflict of interests”: due to the lack of decent state funding, scientists are forced to turn to the commercial sector – producers. It turns out that drug research is sponsored by drug manufacturers, product quality is sponsored by product manufacturers, and the end user receives a “purchased” result and a product that is far from the declared quality.
Most scientists are not satisfied with the current situation, so there is a constant search for a way out of it. The development of the latest technologies and the emergence of distributed registries have led to the idea that the transition to blockchain will optimize the research cycle. The transparency of projects, their immutability and accessibility, the ability to exclude many intermediaries and do without bureaucratic delays are the main arguments in favor of integrating the blockchain into the research sphere. It can be a worthy technical solution to the issue of collecting, storing and reproducing data, as well as help in the expert assessment procedure. At the same time, scientists do not yet see how the problems of authorship, reviewing and the issue of “piracy” can be resolved within the framework of the blockchain. Therefore, due to the presence of some controversial issues, the idea is still under consideration.
For example, they are already trying to solve the problem of attracting financing in scientific developments: in Canada in 2017, the Einsteinium Foundation was founded – a blockchain network that is focused on raising funds for investing in science. The fund has released its own cryptocurrency EMC2, through the mining of which it is planned to finance research in various industries. The distribution of funds will be carried out monthly for projects that have received the maximum number of votes from members of the Fund. The Einsteinium idea is quite relevant, and in the future it can become a powerful international sponsor, but so far a limited number of specialists can apply for grants from it.
Modern technologies do not stand still, and today there is already a unique opportunity to regulate the situation, from attracting investment in science to patenting and licensing. An innovative project developed and created by Simcord, the Bitbon System, is not just an investment platform with advanced functionality, but also a great opportunity to solve a number of problems of modern science.
The process of finding grants, sponsors and attracting them to participate in the project takes a huge amount of time and effort from scientists, but now all this is quite simple to implement using the Bitbon System. The initial research idea, processing and evaluation of results, publication of achievements and phased distribution of funding are concentrated within the framework of one System, which greatly simplifies the entire research process and makes discoveries accessible to the whole world. As a result, any scientific idea can find funding within the System, regardless of how long-term it is planned.
In addition, in the process of compiling a business plan for a future study and its justification, the author gets a unique opportunity to attract leading experts in his field to develop, get their advice and review, apply for copyright and a patent for his discovery, develop a financing strategy for his project. Thus, an absolutely transparent plan is formed, which every participant of the System can familiarize with and, in the future, invest in his chosen project his digital asset – Bitbon, which is used as a payment unit in the System.
By becoming a participant in the System, the scientist gets the opportunity not only to find financing easily and carry out the necessary research, but also to establish cooperation with specialists in this field from other countries, receive their comments and assessments, or simply exchange information. This will help to significantly reduce the flow of specialists who are forced to leave for European countries in the hope of finding opportunities there to implement their ideas.
It is also important that the Bitbon System is implemented on the basis of blockchain technology, and all the data stored in the blockchain is unchanged and accessible to every user. This solves the issue of saving data without the risk of loss or substitution, as well as the possibility of familiarization with the public. This, in turn, is a variant of changing the situation with the publication of articles: without additional investments, the author gets the opportunity to popularize the results of his research on an international-format blockchain network, which, in essence, is more prestigious than the expensive publication of an article in authoritative publications. In addition, as mentioned earlier, there is the problem of informing about negative results, which most often settle on the tables of the scientists themselves, but at the same time play an important role for future developments. The principle of a distributed registry within the System allows you to post information of any nature, thereby reducing the percentage of duplicate studies and informing the community about the impossibility of implementing a particular experiment. Knowing in which direction to move and how to avoid mistakes that have already been made by others is the need for the work of any scientist. Within the Bitbon System, all research data is placed on a platform that everyone can access, no matter where in the world it is located.
Given all of the above, the Bitbon System is a promising platform for the formation of a new format of the scientific community.