How we create a digital infrastructure for science
Last week we launched the public beta of the DEIP research platform. The testing is open for everyone — among the first who are already getting involved and giving feedback are researchers from Eurodoc, a federation of 29 national associations representing early-career researchers in Europe.
Though our beta has just launched, this is quite an achievement — very few products built on principles of decentralization have gained wide adoption. So apart from being another step in our product life cycle, DEIP beta is something more. And here’s why.
1. Digital future of science is now a step closer
To accelerate the pace of scientific discoveries and innovation, new models for research, funding, and collaboration should appear. We see it possible through the creation of a common digital infrastructure uniting all the stakeholders in science. This infrastructure should be decentralized — for several major reasons.
First, spending efficiency. Today, while distributing grants, agencies spend up to 40% of funds to cover administrative costs — decentralization can help to cut these figures drastically.
Secondly, governance. Decentralization enables the new level of collaboration between stakeholders, which leads to processes optimization. Besides, decentralized governance models are usually highly scalable — meaning that tomorrow, when a new member institution wants to join the infrastructure, it will be able to do it really fast.
Although the benefits of decentralization are evident, they’re hard to communicate as there are still very few impactful use cases — developers and businesses are still figuring out where the technology can be best applied. We believe by launching the public beta of our product we will show people the viability of decentralization and accelerate its mass adoption.
2. Product-market fit is what will drive blockchain adoption
To go beyond cryptocurrency hype and become massively adopted, blockchains should prove to be more efficient than other tools solving identical problems. But first and foremost, they should make sure the product they offer resonates with their target market. In case your blockchain provides some added value and solves stakeholders problems, you’re on the right path to adoption.
DEIP has many potential applications, but the market it fits most is that of funding scientific research, whose major players are funding agencies, governmental institutions, and enterprise R&Ds. Finding this fit helped DEIP switch smoothly from its research & development stage to adoption.
DEIP beta is just the beginning of our adoption case — we hope it will set a good example for other decentralized products.
3. Open science is accelerating, and blockchain is here to help
Starting from the 1990s, the open science movement has been constantly growing. In Europe, it evolved into the announcement of Plan S — a mandate from a group of funders, requiring their grant recipients to publish in compliant Open Access journals or platforms. However, to be put into life, Plan S needs a new, sustainable business model for open access — the existing ones are just not fit for this. And here’s where blockchain can come to rescue.
Currently, publishers are simply not motivated to provide open access, as this will ruin their monetization models. But the DEIP platform offers a brand new model, allowing to no longer charge for publishing, access or review, and be monetized in a different way.