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Blockchain-based publishing, citation, and patent platform for greater acknowledgment and benefit for all contributors

Image credit: https://blog.exellys.com/4-industries-that-will-never-be-the-same-after-blockchain/blockchain-1500x600/

jnikola Sep 28, 2021
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Recently, @Matt Colbe started a session dealing with the usage of blockchain technology in the music industry. I described a potential solution by introducing the AUDIO token that could help artists to gain better control of the distribution and streaming of their music, making their profits significantly higher, too.

A similar problem exists in science. Many people work on specific problems for years and by collaborative effort, move step by step towards the solution (better efficiency of the solar panels, a better understanding of the disease, possible mechanisms of chemotherapeutic resistance in cancer, etc.). The solution sometimes reaches the pharma industry or a start-up, which launches the product on the market (really cool, more efficient solar panels, a new drug against ovarian cancer, etc.). That way, the collaborative effort of many scientists and enthusiasts results in a product that brings millions to the lucky "inventor". But what about everyone in the contribution chain that invested a lot of effort to make it happen? Should they receive a piece of cake?

The idea

I offer a solution to the above mention problem - a decentralized platform for publishing, patenting and tracking the citation with the support of a blockchain-based token.

The idea is to develop a fully equipped toolset for scientists and other researchers.
The toolset would comprise of:
  • decentralized open-source peer-reviewed publishing and patenting service
To become relevant in scientific community, publishing should be previously peer-reviewed. Reviewing would be based on blockchain technology to be transparent and up-to-date. A person should be able to patent his/her product via the same service, which would be the mediator between the legal institutions and the person. Everything would be kept in a integrated blockchain system.
  • blockchain-based citation and patent tracker with integrated "contributors" option as a novelty factor
Everytime a person cite somebody, smart algorithm determines the importance factor for the cited paper in the context of the paper topic/field. That way, cited papers gain visibility and become "contributors" to a certain topic. When the patent or the prize is won, a certain amount of money gets distributed among the contributors in the most adequate portions.
  • integrated wallet to receive or send payments
Researchers can support research of other authors or receivetheir "portion" of the prize via integrated wallet with unique token.

The questions

  • Do you think the idea would be viable in this shape?
  • How could we attract researchers to use the platform? What would be our strongest argument?
  • How to deal with previously published papers and patents?
  • Do we need a more intelligent citing system? For example, could we group citations into groups with different ratings (1 - citation presents the key finding that inspired us, 2 - citation presents the important finding that helped us shape our research, 3 - citation presents background knowledge needed for the topic, 4 - citation presents basic concepts of the field). That way papers would not be judged just by the impact factor of the journal and the number of citations, but the "citation score".
  • What do you think?

Additional benefit
The platform would be a great playground to train algorithms that would do what
@Darko Savic proposed:AI-generated articles comprised only of quotations from scientific papers and based on what you want to convey
A platform where crowdfunded bounties are paid to people who translate scientific papers for general public

Creative contributions

The first step: An automated method to cite the original source

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 05, 2021
I wanted to post this as an original idea but it seems more appropriate here.

The problem: Another problem in research write-ups is that of "compounded citations", where you cite a paper that has cited a paper, which presents the results that you want to refer to.

This problem seems trivial at first glance but those who have struggled to find original citations (back-referencing) know that it is time-consuming and frustrating at times. Therefore, this affects both the original authors and the new authors that want to cite it.

Background: Knowledge trickles down via published manuscripts. Most impactful original works are cited numerous times and decades after they have been first published. It also happens that a paper that cited an original work gets cited for that work. There are two problems here: 1. The original work loses some of its citations (a parameter that is used to judge the quality of a paper, thus, losing on the perceived quality of the original work) as @Juran mentioned. 2. There is a loss of meaning since every secondary author cites the original work to meet their context. With multiple such secondary citations (compounded citations), the meaning may get altered significantly.

The idea: Develop a platform that directs you to the original work every time you want to cite. For this, every new citation should be logged into the system. This shouldn't be difficult since every manuscript has a unique identification number - either the "doi" or the "PMID" should do the job. Although there are some manuscripts that lack either or both of them but these are very few. Authors usually use a reference manager to cite papers and prepare a bibliography. These citations managers (I use Mendeley) already have a system in place to accept the "doi" or "PMID" from the user and extract all the information regarding the associated manuscript. Such citation managers could use blockchain technology to track each new citation to its source. With the use of appropriate keywords, the user could be presented with a very short list of (I imagine at the maximum 3) original sources that have presented the work. The user can then select the one they intend to cite. Ideally, there should be a single item in the list, which is the original work the user is looking for.

This is a top-down approach to deal with the problem. It is a part of the bigger picture @Juran has painted.
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jnikola3 years ago
Hi Shubhankar Kulkarni! Thank you for contributing and pointing out the important aspect of citing that is also needed for my idea to work.

I also use Mendeley and it works just fine for the basic citing, but lacks the "smart features" you mentioned. That would revolutionize publishing.

What I see as the main problem is the algorithm behind finding a citation of a specific paper that mentioned my cited premise. I found a primitive, but possible way of how the algorithm could work.

For example, I write that the ovarian cancer patients with increased methylation on specific locus respond better to platinum-based therapy (not sure if correct, just using it as an example). I wrongly cite a review paper saying that an overall increase in methylation correlated with a better response to platinum drugs.
What I would want now is that a citation manager extracts keywords from the sentence/paragraph and checks the text of the cited paper. When it found the sentence/paragraph/part that has the desired keywords, it would analyze them and give them a score based on connections to my citing sentence. Then it would also check the papers cited in a part of a review paper dealing with the topic (small number of papers) and give them the same score, too. Then it would compare the scores of a review paper I cited and the other citations cited by that paper. In the end, it would give me "Grammarly-like" citation suggestions based on the scores.

What do you think? Would this mechanism of scoring work? How could it be enhanced?
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
Juran Yes exactly! Algorithmically, the citation manager would CTRL + F the review you mentioned and ask you for keywords. It will find the keywords, look for a citation that comes immediately after the keywords, and list that citation. It will do that throughout the paper. After listing all the potential hits, it will search for the keywords you have provided in those back-referenced papers. It will eliminate those papers that do not have the keywords. Based on the number of times those keywords are mentioned in a paper, it will attach a score to it. It will then rearrange the list with the highest scoring papers at the top.
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jnikola3 years ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni Sounds like we have an idea of an algorithm. Let's do more research online and see if there is something similar. Also, what would it take to make it happen? :)
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General comments

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
Juran Great idea! I had the same thought in mind when I posted this idea - https://brainstorming.com/affiliate-ideation-platform/630, that is, to acknowledge every single brain that helped an invention look like what it does today. I will try to answer some of your questions here:
1. How to deal with previously published papers and patents? - Let us start dealing with papers. If all goes well, we may apply a similar model for patents. The citations for all the papers exist and could be used to construct the "research tree".
2. Do we need a more intelligent citing system? - Yes. The groups you mentioned seem accurate. Alternatively, while publishing, among the existing citations, the authors could be asked to select and rank five citations that they think were the most influential for going ahead with performing the presented experiments. The weightage of these five cited papers increases. If author A lists V, W, X, Y, and Z as the most influential authors in that sequence, and if another author B who has listed A as their most influential author recieves a prize for theis work, all B, A, and V should be acknowledged for the research. The threshold of the number of the most influential papers could be decided after studying how many citations actually help with the thought behind an experiment and how many citations simply help defend an argument the author makes. The average number of papers that actually help with the ideation and/ or design of an experiment should be the threshold, I think. However, this system incorporates a bias. An author may self-cite and list them as the most influential citations. May be the reviewers of the paper get a say here. If there are three reviewers and 1 editor, each citation may get 5 votes (including the vote of the current authors). The citations can then be ranked based on the votes they get.
3. How could we attract researchers to use the platform? What would be our strongest argument? - Such a model should be incorporated into the publishing process. The authors should include their most influential citations and the reviewers should comply. The vote calculation can be automated and when a paper gets published, it should highlight the influential citations. Each paper then receives an "evolved citation score" and is linked to the papers that cited it and the papers that it cited.
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jnikola3 years ago
Thank you Shubhankar Kulkarni for your thoughts! Yes, I saw the session you linked and it has the same goal as mine. We should appreciate every single link in the "ideation/research tree".

Concerning the citation system, I completely agree. While I was reading the first part of your comment, the idea of reviewers/editors playing a role in citation ranking crossed my mind. I am glad we think the same :) This could eliminate bias and bring a more rational and objective citation ranking system.

Please leave the feedback on this idea
Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello3 years ago
NFTs are already a decentralized solution for patenting any form of work that can be recorded. What is left is the adoption of such solutions by the masses.

Another issue that is worth noting is that using an NFT based patenting system does not solve the lucky 'inventor problem. The reason being that the "lucky inventor" can always claim that they found out what some of their predecessors did independently. One could also argue that the research that led to the innovation will be useless without the innovation. Evaluating the relevance of each contribution will be a very complex process that will probably be impractical to adopt. I would stick to letting the lucky inventor get the rewards.

In cases where disputes happen between parties over the same or very similar inventions, there will be no fair way to settle them since the patenting system is decentralized and there is no central governing body to settle such disputes. In the end, the NFT patent that is adopted by the masses (or more accurately the major investors) will be more popular, this is quite unfavorable to unpopular inventors and artists. Even in the current patenting system, issues with such disputes can still be hard to settle when the involved parties are in different countries because patents that are filed in one country are not always valid in another country. The confusion will only increase if such a system became decentralized. The opposite approach may be more friendly to the inventor so that a single body will govern the issuing of patents.
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jnikola3 years ago
Samuel Bello Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I see you went a bit further with the NFTs. I didn't have in mind adopting the NFTs in this platform. Scientific papers would still be just papers in journals and patents registered by authorized bodies. No patenting of any of these via NFTs would be included. Why? Because no one would like to buy a scientific paper. Even if the research leads to the discovery, it is secured by the patent. Therefore, NFTs could rather be used for patents, but separately from this idea.

Blockchain technology would be used to support publishing and keep track of citations. The patent register would be also checked regularly to always have an updated database of patents and their connection with papers. This connection would be introduced to the blockchain-based system that "draws" connections and builds "research trees".
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
Samuel Bello In addition to what Juran said, the main difference between an invention and a scientific paper is that a scientific paper must follow a trail of thought. They are like stories. They have to build upon previous incidents and stories. There is no way one can publish something (in a reputed indexed journal) completely out of the blue in science (at least in the fields of science I know). Therefore, every single comment in a scientific paper is connected to a previous document or website. This makes Juran's idea viable. As he said, this is a start. We can implement this on scientific studies. Depending upon the response, we may think of implementing a similar structure for patents.

Juran, I see this develop into a scenario where a Nobel prize is awarded along with a list of names who have contributed to the journey. Should everyone on the list receive a prize? That is a different topic (maybe a different session).
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