Blockchain For Science Con 2018 : “Building the Open Science Ecosystem of the Future”

After a series of meetups and unconferences we felt strong enough to call for the First International conference on Blockchain For Science, Research and Knowledge creation. Luckily, the long planned dates fell together with the Berlin Science week.

We invited people from our network, wrote cold contact invitations to all research institutes in Germany, most of Europe and America. We approached many sponsors, most uttered scepticism towards the topic or us organizing a first year conference, both completely understandable as Blockchain was overhyping and some shady ICO-scams made the news.

All talks, including complete live stream, are available on youtube, see below, thanks to the great team from Cyberacademy.

During the two days, 120 people attended. There have been people from literally all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South America, Turkey, the States, Russia, Belarus, just to name a few. Furthermore, there have been developers, blockchain coders, real world scientists, librarians, publishers, lawyers, investors and about 10 Blockchain For Science projects. We created the diversity that is right for this field. However, there is also a room to grow, in the future we will try to include more institutes, politicians, policy makers and IoT-providers. I believe that us showing that we are willingly to open up our content and that we try to bring the stakeholder together, will make it easier to approach institutes and sponsors in the future.

The topics ranged from basic intro to Blockchain, through infrastructure, as well as publishing on the blockchain and decentralized data infrastructure. Prof. Dirnagl as one of the first speakers, completely destroyed the prospects of Blockchain and how it could fix things in science and research. From this we rose like the Phoenix from the ashes during the upcoming two days. And we have shown clearly, that we are not naive regarding the prospects of blockchain technology — important in the (post-)hype phase of a technology. Clearly, the emerging cryptoeconomy for science was too short and there is much more need to discuss and follow up on, which we will do through out 2019 (Check out upcoming events, most notably Seed2019 soon in Davos). The decentralized data panel resulted in a great discussion.

Panel on decentralized research data.

So what is Blockchain in Science?

The program was quite full …

Blockchain in Science references not only the infrastructure, and here a consortium chain (permissioned, permissionless), or proof-of-authority (how they are called today), is certainly the right way to go for many applications, including publishing, peer-reviewing, social networking, all science communication. But Blockchain in Science are also new data handling paradigms, new deals on data, new ways to proof privacy of research data, and the whole cryptoeconomy for science. New ways to distribute research money. And to reduce overhead in science conduct through DAOs and other emerging organization forms. Or the social physics of ideas flow supported through completely new economies. Furthermore, ideally it is completely decentralized Web 3.0 infrastructure for science — even beyond current repositories and centralized databases, may they be as open as they are at the moment. So it is really a wide field. This was my personal intention that this was a clear take home message after the first day.

Despite the vivid discussions, we just begun to address many things. Researcher identity is not solved. Furthermore, how do we incentivise projects to work on a decentralised infrastructure if there is no prospect to cash out on the attention economy and the control over data? This holds true for institutes as well — because in the future they might not be visible as the enabler to grant distributing authorities anymore in the same way they are today. Furthermore, it shows that Blockchain For Science is really suprainstitutional, and potentially more open than current open science. It needs rethinking on many levels.

Vivid discussions …

The International Society of Blockchain For Science was only briefly discussed. It is in the structuring phase and we will come up with a disputable proposal of what it should do during the first half of 2019 — sorry for the delay, but we wanted not to have just another, empty organizational structure, but a clear path to go.

Blockchain For Science Con 2019: New deals

Concluding: The first step is done, it was a success, and we will continue. There will be a Blockchain For Science Con 2019 — most likely in begin of November — that is for sure. The key topics will be: New deals on data and on Science (Cryptoeconomy). It will be more low-key, as open as this one and we hope that we can welcome you there. Furthermore, we are open to any suggestions.

Thanks to all the contributors, and Arnoud de Kemp, who helped us a lot with the how-tos to make such an event happening.

Last but not least — There was a graffiti

The whole conference was in rather unusual setting, a music artsy hotel — bridging the Kreuzberg / Brooklyn backyard blockchain culture with rather established scientific conference locations … :) All crowned by a graffiti of one of the most famous Berlin street artists — Tobo. If you want to read more on it, click here.

Program with links to the talks on youtube

Day 1: On to the journey …

(Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Schildhauer)

Status of Science and Knowledge Creation

Blockchain For Science and Knowledge Creation

Research Data & Blockchain

Making Blockchain work for the Open Science Ecosystem

Pre-Dinner Thoughts….

Day 2:

Scientific Publishing on the Blockchain

Cryptoeconomy for Science

Specific applications

From Organised and Incentivised Collaboration to IP (Intellectual Property) and other real world connections

Building the Open Science Ecosystem of the Future

  • Buidling the Open Science Ecosystem: Status
    Prof.Dr. Sascha Friesike, Free University of Amsterdam and Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), Berlin & Benedikt Fecher, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), Berlin
  • ALL: Open Panel / Discussion

Poster prices

Two poster prices were selected by the committee:

Price serendipity:

Price serious business:

Congrats to the winners!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Soenke Bartling

Blockchain For Science. Basic medical imaging scientist. Opened up science in Web 2.0 and is now trailblazing the Web3 for science.