A fellow from Waterloo, Canada is looking to transform academic peer-review with an decentralized app called “Pioneer” (great name!). If you are a developer, designer, or business strategist interested in working with him to bring this idea into existence, simply reply to this post or contact @davidrpmorris on chat.blockstack.com!
The way that we distribute knowledge is broken and highly centralized. Five publishing companies publish over 50% of all research papers. When a paper is published, the author usually transfers copyright to the publisher.
Since the publishing companies control so much of published research, they can charge exorbitant subscription fees to institutions and university libraries. Virtually all of this research is publicly funded, and yet virtually all of it is behind a paywall. Although open access is growing, authors still have to pay for the publication of these articles and give away exclusive rights to the publishers.
A decentralized application where researchers can submit their articles.
The publishers provide three services: (1) coordination of peer review, (2) formatting and copy editing, and (3) prestige.
Peer review is enabled by blockstack, which verifies users’ identities: this means that anonymous peer review can be conducted through the application. The application also opens up the discussion to the research community by verifying the identities of commenters to ensure that they are qualified to comment.
Small fees can be charged for formatting and copy editing, but they can be done by the broader community, much like how pull requests are done with software development.
Prestige is tricky, but refer to the quote below for inspiration.
Pioneer goes beyond the GitHub for science that we need.
“To revolutionize academic publication, a new system would need to be developed in a basement market which would eventually enable people to gain enough credibility [using] this new solution. People would then begin to value this lower end, well done research, and that is when the world starts to change.” - David Sundahl, Senior Research Fellow, Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation