The blockchain revolution offers great new potentials for science and knowledge creation. Blockchain uses strong cryptography and economic incentives to make digital goods immutable and externally provable. Furthermore, it provides new user autonomy in form of private keys that are controlled by the user and used to cryptographically sign changes to a system.
In research, data acquisition and post-processing can become immutable and provable to the outside world. This bears the potential to recreate trust in research data. Censorship-proof cryptocloud based journal systems and data repositories can be realized. Research assessment and impact measurement could also become provable through blockchain and together with ICOs that will create new funding mechanisms. Now is the time to structure the future of science funding so that the emerging token economy heads into constructive directions as early as possible and by providing the right good practices this could be a new dawn of open science. Ideally, the token economy could provide a new asset class and could open early stage science projects to investors.
Sönke Bartling, the founder of the think tank and hub BlockchainForScience.com, is currently holding an associate researcher position at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (hiig.de) in Berlin, Germany. Radiologist by training, he is also focusing on medical imaging as a senior scientists at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. In addition to his medical research Sönke Bartling co-authored "Blockchain for science and knowledge creation. A technical fix to the reproducibility crisis?“, a living document.
This lecture is part of the series „New Trends in Scholarly Communication“ initiated by IST Austria and the Austrian Science Fund.