Decentralized Science (DeSci) Movement: A New Web3 Revolution
Decentralized technologies have continued to prove their utility in real life, with the latest development coming in the form of decentralized science (DeSci) systems. DeFi’s financial use case has influenced scientists and entrepreneurs to explore how smart contracts, tokens, and blockchain tools might improve scientific fields through cross-border collaboration.
In this article, we discuss the DeSci movement and what use cases are possible in blockchain-based systems.
What is DeSci?
Decentralized science is the latest Web3 front, aimed at the development of funding, creation, peer-review, knowledge dissemination, storage, and credit via public infrastructure. DeSci’s primary goal is to develop a system that incentivizes scientists to share their research openly and be rewarded for their efforts. It also allows contributions and provides access to anyone interested in the research.
The core idea is that access to knowledge should be available to everyone, and that the scientific research process should be transparent. DeSci is basically incorporating the decentralized and distributed nature of Web3 into the scientific research model to make it censorship-resistant and independent of central authorities.
The movement promises to establish an ecosystem that welcomes unconventional ideas without institutional influence. Furthermore, it aims to increase financial backing and enhance communication channels and scientific tools in pursuit of truth.
The DeSci movement is influenced by factors like the need for scientific funding, unclogging knowledge silos, enhancing cross-collaboration, and eliminating profit-hungry intermediaries in scientific research.
Getting funds for scientific research is tied to metrics evaluating the impact of a scientist’s published works. Thus, the publish-or-perish pressure and limited funding leads to more biased projects designed to make sales and headlines.
The funding issue has spiraled into knowledge silos and an over-reliance on third parties for cross-collaboration. As discussed above, DeSci aims to redevelop an ecosystem that enables scientists, shareholders, and citizen scientists to openly contribute to scientific research and get recognized for their work.
Accessibility and Citizen Science
Just like the Open Science movement, DeSci intends to make data accessible to everyone. Decentralized peer review environments, just like blockchain, bring transparency to research processes. It also gives the process credibility, regardless of whether the participants are anonymous or not. Decentralizing science would bring an unprecedented interface layer to many disciplines. It could also serve to allow citizen-scientists to play a more significant role in scientific pursuits.
Most platforms seek to generate value and make profits the more they are utilized. In the case of DeSci, those that generate value– the citizen-scientists, scientists, researchers, etc.– gain value based on the value of their contributions. In short, the more scientists and researchers use DeSci, the more they consolidate value.
DeSci For Whom?
Science Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) currently focuses on computing and technology, natural science, and health and the environment. These span around astronomy, hydrology, machine learning, interactive ecosystems, genetics, medical and nutrition. DeSci could also serve industries in other pursuits like higher education, biopharma, and academia.
Blockchain and DeSci Use Cases
DeSci aims to bring Web2 academia to the Web3 ecosystem. Some potential use cases associated with the movement that Web3 offers include:
Smart contracts and publishing: DeSci aims to eliminate intermediary publishers who undermine the concept of 'public good' for exorbitant profits.
DeSci has the potential to create accessible, legitimate scientific research and papers with Web3 tools and smart contracts at its disposal. For example, scientists could be rewarded with tokens for every review they make.
Incentivized communities could help in reviewing, sharing, and creating resources, like smart manuscripts, to bridge protocols and open-source data. The communities could then help improve preprint qualities for rapid scientific publishing.
Funding: As discussed above, the standard model that funds science—characterized by self-interests, politics, and vulnerability to biases— creates bottlenecks that limit scientific innovations.
The DAO-scientists collaboration enables experimenting with token launches and NFTs to crowdsource funds for research. Future possibilities include DeFi protocol adaptations to enable long-term financial backing, development of science-dedicated protocols.
IP development and ownership: Specialized communities in DeSci could govern various aspects of science, like reputation systems and peer-review, to mitigate the dangers a dominant centralized platform brings to scholarly pursuits. Additionally, it could act as science's future-proofing against the ever-changing technology.
DAO-owned IP-NFTs allow users to claim scientific knowledge based on their contributions. The value generated can be used in funding new research or studies to realize scientific ecosystem self-sustainability.
Reproducibility and replicability: These two features are basic requirements of any quality scientific exploration. A transparent DeSci will allow each participant– scientist or citizen– the responsibility to replicate and reproduce results for individual estimations and validations.
Data storage, access, and architecture: Decentralizing scientific research does not mean that DeSci will lose the blockchain censorship-resistant appeal. Rather, DeSci would be accessed by decentralized entities.
Decentralizing scientific research does not mean that DeSci will lose the blockchain censorship-resistant appeal. Rather, DeSci would be accessed by decentralized entities.
Web3 provides the proper tools to achieve the above use cases, providing the building blocks of a truly open scientific community. DeSci could enable researchers to curate public goods freely and openly.
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Web3, also known as Web 3.0, refers to what is considered the next phase of the internet: a decentralized, permissionless, blockchain-based web that will be controlled and supported by individual users who can maintain their privacy. The Web3 revolution aims to disrupt the current Web2 phase controlled by centralized entities and tech companies like Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, etc.