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Digital Science Report Reveals Potential Behind Blockchain Technology for Scholarly Communication and Research

By Alex Jackson November 28, 2017

New report considers the developments and varying perspectives of blockchain technology and its possible impact on the academic arena.

In support of this new technology, Digital Science is offering a special Catalyst Grant of up to $30,000 / £25,000 specifically aimed at Blockchain technologies in the scholarly arena. *

Boston, MA, USA and London, UK 28th November 2017: Today, global technology company Digital Science has released a landmark report titled: Blockchain for Research – Perspectives on a New Paradigm for Scholarly Communication. The report offers a perspective on blockchain technology and how it could impact scholarly communication and research. It also features views from global industry experts on how future technologies in the scholarly arena will be impacted by blockchain technology.

In support of this new technology, Digital Science is offering a special Catalyst Grant of up to $30,000 / £25,000 specifically aimed at blockchain technologies in the scholarly arena.

Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that has the promise to radically change many industries. This report zooms in on its potential to transform scholarly communication and research, focusing on important initiatives in this field. The report highlights how blockchain technology can touch many critical aspects of scholarly communication, such as transparency, open science, and reproducibility.

The report includes:

  • An introduction into “What is blockchain technology?”
  • A discussion around the challenges in scholarly communication including  the reproducibility crisis, correctly assigning credit and the peer review process.
  • Thoughts on how blockchain technology can be applied to certain activities such as managing research and data, disseminating content, offering new metrics and supporting alternative economic models.
  • Latest examples and initiatives of how blockchain technology is currently being utilised in the scholarly arena.
  • A look to the future of blockchain technology for scholarly communication & research.

The report, written and produced by Dr. Joris van Rossum, includes interviews with industry experts including:

  • Soenke Bartling, a German radiologist and founder of Blockchain for Science,
  • Eefke Smit, Director, Standards and Technology, International Association of STM Publishers.
  • Dr. Philipp Sandner is Head of the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.

Joris Van Rossum, Digital Science’s Director of Special Projects says:

“Blockchain technology has the opportunity to positively impact scholarly practices and for example could even change the role publishers play in the scholarly ecosystem. The potential extends to solving urgent crises in scholarly communication, such as around costs, trust, and universal accessibility to scientific information. This report for the first time digs deep into this promise with a look towards the future.”

Eefke Smit, International Association of STM Publishers, Director, Standards and Technology, said:

“The STM publishing world is suffering its own set of trust issues at present. But even with its imperfections, the current system of academic publishing is strong and offers an efficient infrastructure. However, I could see current players adopting and creating bits of blockchain infrastructure where they can really make a differences. For the publishing world, blockchain technology is full of promises and for the first time this report collates a collection of insights into how this technology may overhaul the industry.”  

You can download the report on Figshare and follow the online conversations using #blockchainforresearch.


Notes for editors

Blockchain is a technology for decentralized, self-regulating data. It allows management and organisation of data in a revolutionary new way: open, permanent, verified and shared without the need of a central authority.
Digital Science is a technology company serving the needs of scientific and research communities at key points along the full cycle of research. We invest in, nurture and support innovative businesses and technologies that make all parts of the research process more open, efficient and effective. We believe that together, we can change research for good.



We will be hosting two events in London to coincide with this report launch. Join us on the 28th November 2017 for a panel discussion with report contributors, and for a Blockchain hackathon on the 1st – 3rd December 2017.

* Catalyst Grant for the Blockchain

At Digital Science we help nurture innovative research software ideas with our prestigious Catalyst Grant programme that we run twice a year. To celebrate the launch of our report, we are offering a unique Catalyst Grant of up to $30,000 / £25,000 aimed specifically at blockchain technology.

We are accepting proposals for implementing any blockchain technology in a research context, especially where it concerns the dissemination or publication of research. Applications could fall into any of the following categories:
– New cryptocurrencies or protocols

– Applications built on existing cryptocurrencies or protocols
– How existing applications can be developed or adapted
– Working groups or entities looking to influence the implementation of blockchain technology
Deadline for applications is Monday 15th January 201

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