Scientific progress is, at its essence, a collaborative effort. Even if achieved through the unique contribution of outstanding individuals, scientific breakthroughs are meaningless if they can’t be replicated or falsified by a wider community of peers. Scientists aren’t only “standing on the shoulders of giants” as Newton put it, but also held, supported, and scrutinized by a fellowship of equals.
This unique relationship researchers have with their peers has very few parallels in other sectors. On the one hand, researchers and scientists need each other’s support as colleagues, reviewers, and brothers and sisters in arms. On the other hand, scientific research is a fiercely competitive environment, one not only driven by prestige and honor, but also by cold financial considerations. Grants, tenures, and lucrative R&D positions are a scarce commodity. The tight race to reap them surely incentivizes excellence, but all too often also incites fraud, misconduct, and breach of trust.
Consequently, sincere collaboration in Science is as much a necessity taken for granted as it is one of the field’s most challenging aspects. CyberVein’s immutable database network holds the potential of mitigating this conflict by providing tools that make fraud much harder while providing economic models that incentivize and reward earnest cooperation.
Before publishing scientific papers, researchers are required to submit their work to a peer review process. During peer review experimental data is analyzed, methodology scrutinized, and conclusions vetted.
This thorough process is to some degree based on mutual trust. Peer reviewers are dependent on researchers submitting correct and complete raw data, while scientists rely on the overall objectivity of reviewing boards. Unfortunately, this trust relationship is often breached.
Given the statistical nature of complex experiments, it is as easy as it is tempting to under-report evidence unsupportive of the researcher’s hypothesis. This becomes exceedingly dangerous when moneyed interests are involved, as it is the case with approval studies for pharmaceuticals and the like.
Utilizing a CyberVein database to collect experimental results in real time would make it extremely difficult to misreport. Input portals such as sensors, exact times and locations, and various other forms of metadata would be immutably recorded on the blockchain. Missing data would immediately stand out as such and raise red flags. In extremely sensitive cases, incoming data could be subjected to real-time triple-blind analysis and peer review, while the experiment is still in process.
Research, and academia in general are based on cross-referencing of sources; No research facility is an island, and constant reliance on the work of others is a necessity. In fact, providing researchers universal access to global academic archives was one of the internet’s first use cases. Nevertheless, very few economic incentives exist to persuade universities to maintain large data sets in the public domain.
When it comes to finalized documents, such as research papers and studies, this issue is normally solved with paywalls and access fees. However, when it comes to experimental raw data, no generalized network for the on-demand exchange of information exists. Logs of experimental results are either siloed locally or eventually scrapped altogether.
CyberVein solves this problem gracefully. Experimental data stored on CyberVein databases wouldn’t only be protected from unauthorized manipulations and remain trustworthy, the CyberVein network would also grant unmediated access to scientists around the world. The smart-contract based monetization functions native to CyberVein would collect access fees automatically, compensating the research facility for its maintenance efforts whenever its data is being referenced or used.
This way, research facilities could directly incorporate external experimental data (verified through the peer review process detailed above) in their own research, while serving as a stepping stone for future research by other facilities.
Many research projects require the collaboration of several facilities around the globe and sometimes even the participation of the general public. This is especially true for Astrophysics, where data from telescopes on opposing sides of the globe has to be merged into one coherent picture and analyzed as such. Ambitious projects such as SETI@home and Folding@home even made headlines by inviting the general public to donate their processing and storage resources to the scientific effort.
When it comes to the handling of sensitive research subjects, such projects could benefit immensely from relying on the CyberVein network. Data collected at multiple locations could be processed in parallel by a crowd of participators. This is obviously already possible using existing networks, however, CyberVein would add a dimension of immutability and transparency to the process.
CyberVein databases allow for data to be directly manipulated on the blockchain, while maintaining an immutable trace of operations performed. No database state could ever be lost due to manipulation and could be rolled-back and viewed by anyone with the right privileges. This would make massive collaborative research not only more efficient, but also more secure and reliable.
In our next blog post, we will discuss how CyberVein can change the way supply chains are managed and information shared in various industries and sectors. So stay tuned here, subscribe to our newsletter, join us on Telegram, and follow us on Twitter.