DeSci — the New Web 3 Movement to Revolutionize Scientific Research & Funding
According to a Blockchain Market Research Future report, the Web3 market size is currently valued at over $6.3 billion and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.6% from 2023 to 2030. Although many industries and institutions are leveraging the advent of this Web 3 to drive innovation, scientists are also exploring its application.
Not so far ago I had a conversation on my Twitter regarding how blockchain and crypto can affect science and the scientific community. And how science can be integrated into a new Web3 trend.
Today, many scientists have already deployed blockchain tools like smart contracts, decentralization, etc., to revolutionize the world of science. This movement to utilize blockchain and web 3 applications is termed decentralized science (DeSci). Although it is still at the infant stage, DeSci is the meeting point of two major movements:
- The move by the science world to seek out alternative ways to fund their work and share information and data without restrictions.
- A crypto-based movement to eliminate profit-focused middlemen from value exchange or transactions.
A brief history
Over the years, there have been tremendous efforts to make research findings and data more available to the general public.
Open Science played a vital role in that regard. Its major contribution is championing the injunction by the National Institutes of health mandating all scientific findings to be published without restricted access. However, journals responded to the injunction by ensuring scientists paid before their works could be published. This hurdle called for a more revolutionary approach, thus birthing the decentralized science revolution.
What is Decentralized Science?
Decentralized science (DeSci) is the newest Web 3 potentially revolutionary movement that seeks to leverage technological applications like blockchain and Web 3 to solve some major issues in scientific research. These pain points include the hurdle of the unavailability of research findings and other bottlenecks in research and scientific processes.
With the full acceptance of DeSci in the global science community, there will be a great shift in scientific funding, and knowledge will no longer be hoarded in silos. DeSci aims to take power away from profit-hungry intermediaries like publisher conglomerates and enhance collaboration within the global science community.
Many scientists struggle to have access to the right funding. These scientists spend almost 50% of their time writing research proposals, and the chances of success are not guaranteed.
The restriction of access to scientific findings and data is another big pain point bedevilling the science world today. Although ‘science’ is heralded to be a life-saver, people need permissioned access to its data. At the top of DeSci’s mission is to ensure the general public has unrestricted access to these scientific data.
Science-based blockchain initiatives started getting global recognition in 2021, all thanks to the rise and proliferation of new projects.
Examples are the Open Science NFT project sold for 13 ETH and the explosion of DAOs built to support and help frow decentralized scientific research.
Additionally, the DeSci panel discussion was held at the LisCon blockchain event during the last quarter of 2021.
The current decentralized science ecosystem is an interconnection of different DAOs. Each of these DAOs is built to serve a particular niche of research findings. like funding, peer review, unrestricted access, etc. However, some DAOs are designed to serve specific research fields like Biotech. The biotechnology DAOs are at the forefront with DAOs like Molecule, LabDAO, VitaDAO, BioDAO etc.
How DeSci will Utilize Blockchain & Web3
Smart contract-powered peer reviews
Although scientists carry out peer reviews without charge, the intermediary publishing industry makes huge profits. With the integration of smart contracts, DeSci can eliminate the intermediaries in peer reviews, thereby enabling the authors to have direct interaction with peer reviewers.
Over the years, there has been evidence of governments meddling and censoring scientific research and findings. A report published by R.W. Newman in Council Science Editors cited that the politicization of science is so topical that it appears in the comics of mainstream newspapers.
DeSci leverages the decentralized property of blockchain technology for data storage, thereby making it accessible from all around the globe. This will help mitigate government censorship and gatekeeping of scientific data.
Blockchain-powered Research funding
By leveraging the innovative property of decentralized autonomous applications, scientists can come together to launches to fund their research.
There is also the possibility of building platforms that exclusively cater for science. They can also twitch DeFi systems to create sustainable and effective funding models for scientific research.
Utilizing value from marketable outputs like NFTs can help fund research, thereby enhancing sustainable scientific communities.
No Single Entity Domination of Ownership
The major downside of Open Science was the risk that a single commercial platform would ‘own’ science. However, the advent of DeSci ensures unique, specialized communities handle a designated niche of scientific research.
Aside from mitigating the possibility of one entity dominating science, DeSci also shields the science community against rapidly evolving technologies and other emerging threats.
With DeSci, the people will own scientific knowledge and not corporations and governments. Imagine the possibility of having communities set the price of vaccines, and the bulk of the profit generated will be reinvested into funding more research.
This will undoubtedly improve the health outcome of everyone.
Today, a scientist’s ‘authority’ and capacity to secure funding is dependent on the number of their publications.
With DeSci, such scientists can earn NFTs by executing some value functions for research purposes. The scientist can train and mentor young professionals in the field, engage in peer reviews, and share data without restrictions.
The NFTs can serve as verifiable evidence showing that the scientist has made great contributions to science.
Decentralized Science is a relatively “young” trend trying out new technological tools to revolutionize science. Before DeSci can be successful, there needs of mainstream adoption of its tools into the day-to-day activities of scientists.
The focus of DeSci must be to provide scientists with all the necessary tools they need to be efficient and effective in their line of work. All other things are secondary.
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P.S. Check out my previous articles at HackerNoon:
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- Understanding Metaverse: A Basic Explanation
- Play2Earn for Beginners: Where to Start
- What is an IGO (Initial Game Offering)?
- Play 2 Earn: A New Trend on the Crypto Market
- The Ultimate Guide to NFT Marketing and Promotion
- The Ultimate Checklist For Marketing DeFi Projects