The initiative is an important step towards a fairer and more transparent ecosystem for peer review and explores the utility of decentralized data stores in supporting trusted assertions that connect researchers to their activities.

Boston, MA, USA and London, UK 7th March 2018: Digital Science and Katalysis are pleased to announce the launch of a pilot project to test blockchain technologies to support the peer review process.  They are joined in this pilot project by founding partner Springer Nature.

The problems of research reproducibility, recognition of reviewers and the rising burden of the review process, as research volumes increase each year, have led to a challenging landscape for scholarly communications.

In its initial phase, this initiative aims to look at practical solutions that leverage the distributed registry and smart contract elements of blockchain technologies.  Later phases aim to establish a consortium of organisations committed to working together to solve scholarly communications challenges that centre around peer review.

Digital Science will manage the project and looks forward to coordinating with further partners who wish to become involved; Katalysis will use its market-leading expertise in blockchain technologies to implement the test platform; Springer Nature will participate with a selection of its journals and give key input around publisher and peer review workflows; ORCID will provide insights and knowhow around personal identifiers and authentication.

Joris van Rossum, Director of Special Projects at Digital Science and Project Lead, commented:

“Peer review is a crucial part of scholarly communication and the unique characteristics of blockchain technology hold great promise to solve so many of the challenges we see today. With ORCID, and founding partner Springer Nature, this initiative is already an opportunity to make a significant change.  I encourage other organisations to contact me if they wish to participate.”

Martijn Roelandse, Head of Publishing Innovation at Springer Nature, said:

“Researchers are increasingly required to provide a widening overview of their research-related activities to funders and universities. This new blockchain initiative will help quantify the value of peer review in scholarly communications and empower researchers with greater visibility of their efforts.”

Eveline Klumpers, co-founder Katalysis, comments:

“Blockchain technology unlocks a far-reaching new form of engagement between parties which cannot seek such collaborations due to competing business interests. Springer Nature and ORCID are making an important step forward towards a fairer and more transparent ecosystem for peer review, pioneering a path for new ways to conduct business in the academic industry. As technology partner, Katalysis is delighted to make this initiative a reality.”

Laure Haak, Executive Director of ORCID comments:

“ORCID is excited to be included in the initiative.  We are interested in increasing the transparency of peer review, and also in exploring the utility of decentralized data stores in supporting trusted assertions that connect researchers to their activities.”

 

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.

About Digital Science
Digital Science is a technology company working to make research more efficient. We invest in, nurture and support innovative businesses and technologies that make all parts of the research process more open and effective. We believe that together, we can help researchers make a difference. Visit www.digital-science.com

About Katalysis
Katalysis is a startup based in Amsterdam,  founded by Alex Tran Qui and Eveline Klumpers. Katalysis develops software based on smart contract blockchain technology aimed to help the publishing industry with the transition from off- to online. Their product Katalysis DecPub (Katalysis Decentralized Publishing) is the first blockchain based implementation used in the publishing industry in the Netherlands. Visit https://www.katalysis.io/

About Springer Nature
Springer Nature advances discovery by publishing robust and insightful research, supporting the development of new areas of knowledge, making ideas and information accessible around the world, and leading the way on open access. Key to this is our ability to provide the best possible service to the whole research community: helping authors to share their discoveries; enabling researchers to find, access and understand the work of others; supporting librarians and institutions with innovations in technology and data; and providing quality publishing support to societies.

As a research publisher, Springer Nature is home to trusted brands including Springer, Nature Research, BMC, Palgrave Macmillan and Scientific American. Springer Nature is also a leading educational and professional publisher, providing quality content through a range of innovative platforms, products and services. Every day, around the globe, our imprints, books, journals and resources reach millions of people. For more information, please visit springernature.com and @SpringerNature.

About ORCID
ORCID’s vision is a world where all who participate in research and innovation, from imagining to building and managing, are uniquely identified and connected to their contributions across disciplines, and borders, and time. ORCID provides an identifier for individuals to use with their name as they engage in research and innovation activities. We provide open tools that enable transparent and trustworthy connections between researchers, their contributions, and affiliations. We provide this service to help people find information and to simplify reporting and analysis. Visit https://orcid.org/