Decentralized Science and Biotech
Science is essential for human progress. Decentralized science is a way to make science more open and frictionless, from publishing to funding. This will enable more scientific progress by allowing for more people to participate in the scientific process.
What is decentralized science?
Decentralized science is a movement to make scientific research more open and accessible to everyone. It aims to create a more democratic and equitable scientific system by giving people more control over how research is funded, conducted and shared.
Decentralized science is closely associated with open-source research, which promotes transparency and collaboration among scientists. This allows for more radical collaboration and the development of new ideas in the open.
The goal is to make science more open, collaborative and accountable.
Science could be better
Science is failing to keep up with the demands of the modern world because the mechanisms that have governed scientific inquiry for centuries are no longer providing all the necessary advancements. Decentralized science can help address these issues by allowing for more diverse funding sources, easier access to data and methods, and by providing incentives for reproducibility.
Biotech is becoming increasingly decentralized, with startups launching outside of major hubs, sharing lab space, hiring across borders, and collaborating on research projects. Decentralized models offer several advantages, such as lowering the barrier to entry for smaller companies and harnessing the talents of a more diverse pool of scientists.
It enables more research to happen and succeed outside of the incumbent system, which is held back by bureaucracy. Decentralized science has the potential to bring funding to researchers more quickly and advance their research more seamlessly. To make it truly successful, we need coordination between desci organizations and demonstration of the advantages of decentralized research, clinical trials etc. Biotech is already moving away from heavy physical setups and footprints, toward more virtual ones. It is outsourcing research processes to CROs and making its information and resources available to more people.
The decentralized science movement is an effort to improve science using blockchain. Similar to how blockchain is disrupting other industries, where web2 models of centralized ownership are being challenged by web3 models of decentralized, shared ownership. DeSci efforts range from purely theoretical ideas and small-scale technological experiments to more established players funding university research and launching multiple DAOs of their own.
- Smart contracts could be used to mediate directly between authors and peer reviewers, who would be rewarded with tokens for their review.
- Tokens/NFTs could be used to incentivize scientific communities to share, review, and curate different types of information into resources, such as “smart manuscripts” (which link open-source data and protocols) and article collections.
- The “permaweb” properties of blockchain — where users can store data and information forever, accessible from any location at any time — can be leveraged to guard against scientific censorship (enabled by Arweave, IPFS etc.)
As academic institutions increasingly shift their learning online, DeSci ecosystems may form an attractive alternative to traditional scientific education.
A better way with decentralized science
In decentralized science, the public determines how funds are distributed, through mechanisms such as quadratic voting. This is in contrast to traditional science, where funding decisions are made by small, centralized groups, with little transparency. DeSci is open to anyone, and allows for the free trade of laboratory services. Work is published online, on the author’s own terms. Peer reviewers can earn tokens and reputation for their work. And finally, in decentralized science, authors own the IP they generate and can distribute it according to transparent terms.
Biotech DAOs are a new way of organizing and incentivizing collaborative research in the biotech space. They have the potential to break Eroom’s law (drug discovery becoming slower and more expensive over time) by enabling new methods of optimizing collaboration, talent, and capital allocation.
VitaDAO is the first example of a biotech DAO and it is focused on funding early-stage preclinical drug development in the context of longevity.
What is an IP-NFT?
An IP-NFT is a patent token. It is a digital asset that represents a patent. The holder of an IP-NFT can use it to prove ownership of the patent and to transfer the patent to another party.
Specific use cases
- Research journals thart are openly accesible, independent, version controlled, dynamic and censorship-resistant (eg. sci-hub, researchhub.com)
- Offer new funding models by experimenting with different ones enabled by web3 (quadratic donations/voting, DAOs/communities funding research, IP-NFTs to fund research, crowdsourced science funding)
- Intellectual property (IP) is a big problem in traditional science (illiquid, inaccessible). IP-NFTs could be a solution (enabling new mechanisms for funding, liquidity etc.).
- Scientific data can be made vastly more accessible using Web3 patterns, and distributed storage will enable achieving research to survive cataclysmic events and become censorship-resistant (eg. Arweave, Ipfs/filecoin etc.).
- Enabling reproducibility and replicability by having version controlled, traceable research submitted onchain, as well as incentives for reproducing relevant research.
- A Guide to DeSci, the Latest Web3 Movement by Sarah Hamburg for A16Z Future
- DeSci Wiki - helpful links and information on decentralized science
- The Emergence of Biotech DAOs by Tyler Golato (Molecule, VitaDAO etc.)
- LabDAO Twitter thread of relevant tweets, articles, videos etc.
- IP-NFTs for Researchers: A New Biomedical Funding Paradigm
- A Model for Biotech Laboratory Infrastructure
- labDAO: How can we leverage global lab networks to accelerate R&D?
- An Open Bazaar for Drug Development: Molecule Protocol
- Atoms: Essay on Atoms Protocol vision from decentralized scientific prizes to publishing
- Tokenized Thought: How Ethereum will Revolutionize Intellectual Property
- Positive Sum Worlds: Remaking Public Goods
- VitaDAO: DAO/community funding longevity research and initatives
- Molecule: protocol and community enabling bio ip-nfts, ip-nft marketplace, kickstarting DAOs such as VitaDAO, PsyDAO
- labDAO: DAO/community/protocol enabling easier access to labs, cloud labs etc.
- PsyDAO: DAO/community funding psychedelics research and initatives (in the making)
- Gitcoin: DAO/community developing/funding public goods. Popularized quadratic funding.
- Atoms: Protocol on everything from decentralized scientific prizes to publishing
- Opscientia: community of open science activists, researchers, organisers and enthusiasts that have come together to work on the problems of data sharing, reproducibility, incentive alignment, coordination, and intellectual ownership that plague knowledge creation today.
- Research Hub: Open science journal platform, accelerating the pace of science by rewarding the open sharing and discussion of academic research.
- Planck (manuscripts as NFTs) by Matthew Stephenson
- Crowdfund: $QUANTUM: A new meta-experiment begins today: using crypto to crowdfund scientific research.
- Desci Labs:
Disclaimer: I’m directly involved with VitaDAO, PsyDAO, labDAO and Molecule and might indirectly with the others
Decentralized Science Landscape, curated by Jocelynn Pearl —
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