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Alexander Garcia Castro

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Apr 6, 2018, 10:33:03 AM4/6/18
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I started to do this last year, it did not strike me as useful but it seems I was wrong: 

http://artifacts.ai/

technically speaking it is easy. good to see that they are moving it forward. I should say that there is a lot to work on in this area that intersects with the OSF. Is the OSF thinking about this? Shouldnt we have a working group to address the use of this tech in this area? 

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Rebecca Willén

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Apr 6, 2018, 1:05:24 PM4/6/18
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There are actually a bunch of blockchain based platforms currently being built with the sole purpose of facilitating a transparent workflow for scientists - including alternative ways to publish papers. ConScience is another one. ConScience will be presented by the developers at IGDORE's Open Science Meetup on Bali 23-29 April; I'm looking very much forward to learning more about ConScience and this type of platforms. One important problem that needs to be solved is the fact that stored information that is never used by anyone will disappear with time. Another thing I'd like to learn more about is the benefits vs drawbacks of a blockchain based platform compared to a platform with a version control system running in the background (like OSF) and let this latter type of platform integrate micropayments etc. I'm not sure yet which is to prefer. Indeed interesting developments.

// Rebecca   

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Rebecca Willén, PhD, Researcher
IGDORE - Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education

https://rmwillen.info/
https://igdore.org



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Stuart Buck

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Apr 6, 2018, 4:39:19 PM4/6/18
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I'm a bit partial to this view: 


  1. Blockchain is an elaborate work-around for a *very specific problem*: verifying irreversible transfers of value without a centralized authority. In other words, it's a computationally burdensome way to hate the government.

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  2. Almost everything that is supposedly going to get solved with blockchain can be solved with some kind of version control hosted on a central server.

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  3. * except for the drugs, the scams, the tax evasion, and payment-blockade-circumvention. I acknowledge that those are valid use case scenarios for bitcoin

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  4. 90% of the people who are dazzled by "crypto" right now absolutely do not understand the core technological premise of any of this shit. It's an interesting innovation with an *extremely limited* ability to actually effect any positive change in the world

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Shauna Gordon-McKeon

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Apr 6, 2018, 4:56:58 PM4/6/18
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I'd argue that blockchain is uniquely useless to the scientific community.  It allows people to create communal records without having to trust each other, but the scientific community is arguably the most effective trust-based system in human history.  Obviously we still have our issues, but I don't see how blockchain helps even a little bit.

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Carl Southwell

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Apr 6, 2018, 5:08:47 PM4/6/18
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This is as useful as the Tower of Babel.

Carl

Rebecca Willén

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Apr 7, 2018, 1:01:56 AM4/7/18
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Stuart: Yes it might be that a version control system + integration of micropayments solve it all fine; we'll see with time if blockchain can solve anything new. You brought up the case of Bitcoin, arguing it is not good for anything else but paying for illegal things. Well, it's a currency, it's money, and money are used to pay for legal things as well as illegal things. EUR or USD are not bad because some people use it to pay for illegal stuff; I'm pretty convinced that most illegal transactions in the world are made in other currencies than crypto. How money is used is up to the person in control of the money, and which currency we use has nothing to do with whether we pay taxes or not. There's nothing magic about Bitcoin. It's just a currency. However, just as we once had the IT revolution and a bunch of nerds getting rich on that, we currently have a bunch of nerds who have made a lot of money on being early Bitcoin adopters. These nerds happen to often be very into openness & transparency, science, open source and freedom of information. Thus, these nerds have become important funders of science. An example of this is the Pineapple Fund who recently donated 86 million USD to research and charities. SENS Research Foundation reports that most of the donations they receive are made in cryptocurrencies.

Shauna: "but the scientific community is arguably the most effective trust-based system in human history" - according to this view we wouldn't need version control systems or preregistration either. I couldn't disagree more; trust has no place in science. To me, that's one of the major things with open scientific practices: removing the trust from science and instead practice transparency.

Cheers,

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Michael Ingre

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Apr 7, 2018, 6:34:41 AM4/7/18
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Bitcoin as of today, seems to be a pretty poor currency for most use cases. The volatility alone makes it impractical for daily use and many traditional bank services are arguably simpler. For example, in Sweden we have a popular service called “Swish”, that allows you to instantly and securely send money directly between two bank accounts from your mobile device, to anyone with a phone number (and Swish ofc), currently without fees. Bitcoin is also problematic as a store of value, because running your own digital bank, that can potentially be hacked by anyone on the internet, also means you have to run your own cybersecurity department. 

That said, the blockchain technology itself can potentially be very useful. 

I agree with Rebecca that science needs to move towards an open and transparent system. And there are many problems with trusting an academic system that does not seem to have the best of science as its main driving force, but rather, is focused on producing "strong" publications in academic journals, based on highly selected data and intriguing findings. In many ways, academic researchers and their institutions are an extension of the (academic) media sector. 

In an open system, blockchain technology can potentially be used to cryptographically secure the provenance, timing and integrity of scientific data (in its broadest definition). Thus, this technology seems to be useful for creating a new open and distributed infrastructure, where every step of the research process can be securely documented and all its data can be made public, that is independent of the current academic system.

Cheers,


Michael

Shauna Gordon-McKeon

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Apr 7, 2018, 2:05:34 PM4/7/18
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Shauna: "but the scientific community is arguably the most effective trust-based system in human history" - according to this view we wouldn't need version control systems or preregistration either. I couldn't disagree more; trust has no place in science. To me, that's one of the major things with open scientific practices: removing the trust from science and instead practice transparency.

Let me briefly clarify my argument.

Trust is a fundamental issue in all human relationships and communities.  Every single action we have with other human beings involves some level of trust.  Just today I had to trust the people who harvested and packaged my food not to have accidentally or maliciously poisoned me, the drivers on the street to obey traffic conventions, and my house mate to have locked the house and not invited anyone dangerous to me inside -- and those are only the most obvious examples.  I could come up with dozens more.

Different situations require different levels of trust.  If a situation requires more trust than you currently have, you can try to increase trust in a number of ways.  You can build new technologies, but you can also strengthen relationships, create neutral institutions, or add legal or regulatory force to your agreements.  None of these work perfectly, and often you're best off pursuing a combination of them.  In all cases, though, you will have to trust someone at some point - it's just a matter of deciding which system will allow you to trust in a way that's acceptable to you.

The scientific community has trust issues, yes, like every other human community.  But its trust issues are of a specific type.  When you read a scientific paper, what makes you doubt the findings?  Personally, I'm not worried that the authors have faked the data, or that the publisher has changed the content of the paper without anybody knowing, or that the paper is stolen or plagiarized.  I know that the scientific community has very strong norms against these types of violations, and so they're relatively rare.  Broadly speaking, I trust the scientific community to minimize these problems.  There's not a lot of communities I would trust like that, which is why I claimed that science is special in this way.

The trust issues that the scientific community currently has are largely based around mis-aligned incentives.  I trust most scientists not to engage in outright fraud but I don't trust them not to make choices in their research practices that may hurt their careers.  They know how the funding, publication, and tenure systems work, and they know that replications, preregistration, and following strict practices to minimize false positives will hurt their careers.  Simply put: most scientists don't trust that taking actions to make science better will be rewarded rather than punished.  In a world of decreasing funding and a decaying social safety net, is anyone surprised that people do what's best for themselves within the existing norms of the community?

My focus, then, is on supporting initiatives that help scientists trust that taking actions to make science better will be rewarded rather than punished.  I don't see how blockchain helps with that even slightly.  I'd rather put time and energy and resources into things like lobbying funders to require certain research practices, supporting journals that facilitate preregistration and minimize publication bias, convincing departments to require a minimum number of replications per researcher per year, and educating students and early career researchers about the importance of these practices.  In other words, changing the norms so that engaging in these behaviors is easy rather than hard - because I trust humans to prefer the easy thing to the hard thing.

best,
Shauna

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Ivan Ogasawara

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Apr 10, 2018, 9:23:18 AM4/10/18
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I am reading this blog post and it seems very interesting :


I think everyone can trust in anything .. you can trust in the government, in the science etc ... but a lot of time we see news about corruption, false flag wars, fake news, etc ... so transparency could help everyone who want to check a published paper. A free peer-review.

These are some publications about the problems in science:





About the main topic .. I am trying to understand the its benefits ... blockchain is a very interesting technology ... some banks and governments are using already cryptocurrency ... I am exciting to understand more about how blockchain can help science communications.

My 2 cents :)

My best regards,
Ivan
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