Science can also be decentralised? What! 🤯 Deep Dive: DeSci 👇🏼
What is DeSci? 🤔
DeSci - a fairly new concept under the realm of web3, stands for ‘Decentralized Science’. Like all things web3, the core value that upholds the tenets of newer blockchain-based technologies is decentralization; so, why not apply it to Science as well? 💪🏼
DeSci refers to a more universal, accountable, and open alternative to the present traditional scientific system. This is an evolution of the pre-existing open science movement wherein an open revelation is encouraged. DeSci enables scientists in ways that centralized Science or CeSci never did. DeSci creates room for scientists to raise the funding that they require (let’s face it - funding is the biggest obstacle for all science projects!), conduct experiments freely, share data openly and share their insights, etc. 💯
Ethereum defines DeSci as “a movement that aims to build public infrastructure for funding, creating, reviewing, crediting, storing, and disseminating scientific knowledge fairly and equitably using the Web3 stack.” This makes DeSci an all-encompassing movement wherein fairness and equitability remain the motive. The foundational idea that drives DeSci is that the process of scientific research should be transparent and that scientific knowledge, in general, should be accessible to everyone - regardless of economic class. This contributes to creating a scientific community wherein science, as a whole, is more resistant to censorship in addition to being relatively free-er from central authorities. The increased accessibility to funding via various sources such as crowdfunding, through DAOs, quadratic funding, etc., allows innovation to flourish more openly than it could before. 🆓
DeSci v. CeSci 💪🏼
DeSci offers a far better experience than traditional or conventional CeSci.
Funding: Funding remains the primary obstacle in pursuing any scientific idea and traditional science only creates further obstacles, as only small, closed, and centralized groups often control the distribution of funds. Presently, scientists spend around 80% of their precious time simply trying to gain funding, while only 20% of their time is actually spent on substantive research. On other hand, DeSci enables the public to behold the power to determine the distribution of funds using mechanisms such as quadratic donations or DAOs, and this establishes a fair and equitable process. This also ensures that at least, if not more, the scientist’s 80% time is spent on actual substantive impactful research.💸
Scope of Collaboration: While in CeSci, your scope of collaboration is limited to the ambits determined by funding organizations and home institutions, the decentralized as well as global nature of DeSci, allows you to collaborate with peers of your choosing from all over the globe, thereby creating dynamic and diverse teams. Flexible collaboration is definitely the key to success.🤝🏼
Transparency of Funding Decisions: In CeSci, funding decisions are not only prolonged, and time-consuming but also have almost zero to no transparency. On the other hand, in DeSci, funding decisions are not only online but also very transparent. This trickles accountability into the system and therefore, helps in establishing trust in the funding process as well. 💪🏼
Sharing of laboratory resources: In CeSci, sharing laboratory resources is quite hard as the resources themselves are controlled by traditional funding organizations and institutions. On the other hand, in DeSci, due to the open nature of web3, sharing laboratory resources becomes quite easy and free. Since laboratory resources are quite expensive, and not all laboratories may be equipped with every resource - it becomes automatically beneficial when these expensive resources are shared. This also increases the accessibility of resources. 💯
Peer Reviewing: In CeSci, peer reviewing - a very time-consuming process - is often unpaid, unacknowledged, and out of one’s own prerogative. On the other hand, in DeSci, peer-reviewing is often paid via tokens, and the reviewers also earn a reputation for the same. This does not just solve the unpaid problem but also provides due acknowledgment. 💸
Intellectual Property Ownership: Intellectual Property Rights are the most important to anyone who innovates. In CeSci, unfortunately, the home institution often owns the IP and this is not beneficial to the scientific community. On the other hand, DeSci understands and respects the need for IP ownership to the one that deserves it and thereby, IP ownership is not just transparent but is also provided to the scientific community itself. 🤝🏼
Publication Bias: Since it is up to researchers what they choose to publish, a publication bias would exist in CeSci, as they are likely to publish only successful results. However, the scientific community thrives on learning from mistakes and if only successful results are published, then that may hamper the overall progress. On the other hand, in DeSci, all research is on the chain and therefore, all the failures, as well as successes, are publicly visible. 🚀
Which DeSci projects are impacting the world today? 🤝🏼
While DeSci is still in its nascent stages, it has slowly started gaining momentum in the web3 space, as well as within the scientific community. Some top DeSci projects that are changing how the world views the scientific community, while also creating a revolution, are 👇🏼
1. VitaDAO: VitaDAO is often cited as one of the best examples of DeSci in action as it is a DAO that is focused on funding longevity research. It aims to do this in an open, universal, and democratic manner wherein the ‘decentralized’ as well as ‘autonomous’ nature of the DAO comes to true light within the realm of science. In specific, the decentralization of drug development which is focused on the extension of human life as well as healthspan is one of the primary goals of VitaDAO.
Source: Vita DAO
The DAO is governed by VITA token holders and the same can be earned by (i) intellectual property, (ii) purchasing it, or (iii) contributions of work. Presently, VitaDAO has over 4000 members and has raised more than $9M in funding, in order to support scientific research. With over 200+ research projects sourced, $3.5M+ research funded, and a $4.5M treasury, VitaDAO has proven the capability of DeSci. 🚀
2. SCINET: SCINET defines itself as “a decentralized life sciences ("DeSci") research and investment platform that revolutionizes the way people do and support science.” This platform built on the foundation of blockchain technology aims to enable retail and institutional investors to securely invest in scientific research and technology directly, without any money-hungry intermediaries. Additionally, the SCINET Platform also offers a “blockchain-powered” cloud laboratory for researchers which makes access to scientific resources universal. Further, SCINET has a rigorous decentralized peer review process wherein the reviewers are actively credited for their effort. SCINET’s USP offerings can be seen below 👇🏼
SCINET ensures that all of the dApps that it builds are entirely decentralized. Furthermore, all of the digital assets are 100% on-chain as well - thereby remaining true to the true tenets of web3. Lastly, SCINET enables researchers in documenting their IP on an immutable blockchain, i.e., it can never be changed and they have ownership of the work they created themselves!🤝🏼
3. AntidoteDAO: As the name suggests, this is a DAO and therefore, a decentralized community. The DAO is focused on funding cancer research as well as other cancer initiatives. The governance mechanism of this DeSci project is such that AntidoteDAO has its own governance token as well as NFT collection - which collectively enable individuals to vote on allocation as well as fair and equitable disbursement of funds. While the DAO provides funding to charities that support cancer research as well as cancer patients, the DAO also focuses on providing $100K seed fund grants to cancer research teams in order to advance scientific innovation in developing a cure for cancer.
Source : Antidote DAO
The research projects that are submitted are first reviewed by the DAO’s Medical Advisory team which determines the prima facie veracity of the same. Subsequent to this, the research projects that are selected are put to the community for a fair and equitable vote. This vote then determines the disbursement of funds.
4. LabDAO: This is an emerging organization and as the name suggests, this organization is a DAO, i.e., it is decentralized as well as autonomous. The LabDAO is dedicated to operating a community-run network of dry and wet labs with the goal of advancing scientific research as well as development. What this essentially means is that a wet lab is focused on analyzing chemicals, drugs, and any other biological matter. On the other hand, a dry lab is focused on applied or computational mathematical analysis. It is, therefore, an open research organization built for computational life sciences.
Source: Lab DAO
5. Molecule: This is a decentralized scientific research funding platform that operates as a marketplace for researchers that are seeking out funding. Additionally, it also acts as a marketplace for individuals that are looking to invest in scientific research projects. Therefore, it becomes the decentralized, yet central point for both investors and scientists to easily meet each other. Molecule defines itself as a platform that is “connecting leading researchers to funding by turning intellectual property and its development into a liquid and easily investable asset.” How is this done? Researchers can list their research projects on the marketplace in order to increase the project’s visibility. Presently, Molecule already has over 250 research projects listed on its marketplace in addition to over $10M in funding within the ecosystem.
To conclude 💭
DeSci, an evolution of the Open Science movement, is definitely going to be one for the history books. With most DeSci projects still at a nascent stage and very less universal awareness about DeSci in general, there is a lot that remains to be done in order to fully exploit the true potential of decentralized science. Hopefully, the web3 community can join hands with the scientific community to truly decentralize science, make it an anti-censorship space, and free science from the hands of institutions. 💪🏼
A Guide to DeSci, the Latest Web3 Movement | Future |
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