Covid-19: Mixed Messages & Mistrust (Information Series Part III)

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During the CoronaVirus pandemic, we have witnessed various examples of misinfomation and narrative “flip-flopping” from a number of governing bodies, leading to confusion and a growing public mistrust of policy decisions.

Endless Examples of Misinformation

Since the start of this current health crisis, we’ve seen endless examples of misinformation from various bodies. This feeds the mistrust of many official information channels. Sometimes with good reason, but often to our detriment.

It’s also an opportunity to exploit fears and vulnerabilities. This pushes an agenda that benefits a small minority.

Common Misleading Statements

Whether it was at the outset of the publicity surrounding the Coronavirus, with common misleading statements that it was “a mere ‘flu” to current claims that certain jurisdictions have the virus “well under control”, lines of misinformation create confusion at best. Ultimately however, they harm society.

Mixed Messages

We need to address the mixed messages and information without basis, and allow doctors, researchers, academics and scientists to construct an impartial view of the disease:

  • What it looks like
  • How it spreads
  • How to combat it
  • How to eradicate it

We need free-flow of quality information, quantitative research and the sharing of ideas: a platform where scientists can publish their research objectively, without it being manipulated by others looking to exploit the current crisis.

Freely Distribute Information

KnowledgeArc aims to provide a way to freely distribute information, without it being censored or filtered. And without silencing those who speak the truth. People need a source of truth, a trust-less mechanism to validate and verify the veracity of information. Especially as we see the rise of #deepfake and other mechanisms of truth subversion.

KnowledgeArc Network is working towards this goal using peer-to-peer decentralized storage and blockchain technology. It aims to provide a linkage back to the original source of information: research, findings, discoveries, and opinions. These will all be immutable and permanent on the blockchain.

Misinformation Will Be Easily Identified, Tracked And Isolated

We build on IPFS, OrbitDB and Ethereum: all information is verified for authenticity and integrity. Users are able to build tools around this technology stack, to collate information around similar topics. These collection (or subject) repositories allow people to disseminate information about issues such as the Coronavirus, without the truth being blurred or filtered. Misinformation is be easily identified, tracked and isolated.

In the meantime, look to our scientific and medical experts for an objective picture of the current crisis. Listen instead to trusted institutions such as our universities to collect, collate and verify important information that can be relied on by the wider global community.

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The Tokenomics of Knowledge

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Academic research is a noble cause which adds to the repository of public knowledge. But those who undertake academic research take on a lot of personal responsibility and, ultimately, a lot of risk.

  • Risky research can result in career ruin
  • Costly research may fail to raise the necessary funding
  • New discoveries may supersede existing findings

Creators should be directly incentivised to push the boundaries of human knowledge, but existing processes financially reward the big players while the authors generally miss out.

What if there was a way for researchers to recuperate personal and financial costs directly? Maybe even generate revenue from their work? Could researchers generate financial value from their work, even during the research process?

Research Tokenomics

Tokenomics introduces a new method of revenue generation or self-funding without the need of an intermediary or “middle-man”. In a similar way that cryptocurrencies take the bank out of the middle of a transaction between parties, research tokenisation would take corporate funders and publishers out of the academic process.

Micro-Payments for Cited Work

One example of this would be micro-payments for cited work. When an author publishes his/her work, the findings of that work is often used by other researchers in their studies, to validate certain assumptions – building upon the work of others rather than having to create concepts from scratch.

Research tokenomics would transfer a small amount of tokens to the original authors of the work every time it is referenced. The more useful or applicable the research, the more it is cited and the more tokens the authors can expect to earn. (Think of BAT* for content producers but in the academic space.)

(*BAT is Brave browser’s token. You can earn BAT by either watching ads or by authoring content. Others can contribute BAT when they consume content. This can either be a one-off payment or some kind of ongoing subscription. Instead of Google getting revenue for you consuming ads, or for you posting your content to Facebook who then monetise it, the end users are directly rewarded.)

The KnowledgeArc Network platform deploys smart contracts which track the citations of academic works and generate tokens, which are paid out to the original producers.

Researchers Could Raise Tokens Before Research Completed

Potentially, researchers could even raise tokens before and during the research process, introducing a funding dimension to the tokenomic model.

Ultimately, authors would be able to be rewarded for the huge burden they take on as creators of knowledge.

Find out more about how KnowledgeArc Network is revolutionising how researchers can directly profit from their work.

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Covid-19 & The Paywall Dilemma (Information Series Part II)

As the Coronavirus crisis deepens, quality information is critical to individual, community, state and national preparedness. Staying informed should be easily available in the “digital age”, and it is, but with a considerable cost, both financially and in terms of human health.

Some very large publishers have managed to develop very large revenue streams by restricting access to valuable data. Using paywalls and subscription services, these organisations generate large revenue streams for material they do not author.

As the “middleman” they can charge sizeable access fees which are too costly for most individuals and smaller institutions, especially in developing countries.

Subscriptions also require a large upfront payment, something that’s unattractive to someone simply looking for a particular piece of information.

In recent years, there’s been growing concern around the monetisation of academic research which is:

a) in the best interests of the public

b) funded by the public purse

Europe has been taking a strong stance on ensuring publicly funded academic research be available for free and there has been increased scrutiny around the limitations of paywalls and other subscription-based models when accessing medical and other scientific research.

And Coronavirus has only reinforced the negative impact of paywalls on the dissemination of life-saving information and the real world implications it’s having on people’s ability to find quality research.

Researchers and authors do need to be compensated for their efforts but opportunistic “middle-men” should not be entitled to profiteer off of the hard work of others.

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Combat Misconduct In Research Using Blockchain

There are issues to be solved in academia. Some claim, and research shows this to be true, that misconduct in research has increased. Can blockchain be a part of the solution to reduce this behaviour? How can we combat misconduct in research using blockchain?

Before we answer this question we need to look at the concept of misconduct. What is misconduct in research?

What is Misconduct in Research?

Misconduct in Research
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Misconduct in research can stem from many things: it can be pre-meditated or can happen as a result of a lack of knowledge. Both cases are harmful in many ways to society, research and individuals.

Examples of misconduct can include cheating with data, plagiarism or false duplications. This misconduct is severe, and would affect academia in many ways – both directly and indirectly.

As it stands today, there are very few mechanisms to identify and react to misconduct.

One paper where we can read about the increased academic misconduct is in Vijay Mohan’s article: “On the use of blockchain-based mechanisms to tackle academic misconduct” (Mohan, 2019).

Here you can glean some background as to how he believes the “winner takes it all” contest-like situation in academia is building a framework for more incidents of misconduct. The article provides a good basis for understanding the situation.

Back To Blockchain

One of the solutions to combat misconduct, Mohan suggests, is to use blockchain technology. In short, his idea is that blockchain can provide methods and technology for alleviating problems with the academic publishing industry.

The idea is that blockchain can work as a monitoring technology, and thus be a part of a solution to increase the probability that misconduct will be detected. According to Mohan, there are not enough of such monitoring platforms today.

Read the article by Vijay Mohan published in Research Policy 48 (2019) (subscription journal)

KnowledgeArc Network and Blockchain

At KnowledgeArc, we believe in blockchain.

Firstly, we believe that technology can be a way to meet the challenges of open science.

Secondly, we believe technology can be a game-changer when it comes to moving the focus from quantity to quality in publication.

And lastly, we believe blockchain can add security and full openness to the equation.

With this in mind we also believe that blockchain can be one of several initiatives contributing to improved academic processes. These are just some of the ways we can combat misconduct in research using blockchain.

What are your thoughts in this regard? Leave your comments below…

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Read more about our blockchain developments here.

The Decentralized Archive Journey Begins

At KnowledgeArc.Network, we believe that the publishing, dissemination and archiving or information needs to fundamentally change.

Information should be open and public. It should also incentivize a decentralized community to participate in the creation, review, licensing, verification and archiving of information.

A democratized ecosystem for peer review

A single entity should not control and decide what quality content can or cannot be peer reviewed and published. Large, well-funded institutions should not receive preferential treatment over smaller, less-funded ones. Instead, we believe the entire community can actively participate in the review and publishing process. The community can decide inclusion of a work based on its merits rather than the size of an institution’s reach and influence.

Your data held for ransom

The convenience of a third-party hosting provider can often mean you give up control of your data. If you decide to change hosts or move information to in-house infrastructure, you are reliant on your existing host to hand over all your data. Depending on your agreement with your host, it may not be possible to salvage it all.

KnowledgeArc.Network uses decentralized technologies to store, sign and verify your archived information. An archiving provider can no longer hold your data exclusively; you and others can replicate your data, even if it is private, whether it is to another hosting provider, an in-house server or even your local computer.

Multiple versions of the data also ensures there isn’t a single point of failure.

Incentivizing the community

Current solutions incentivize and reward middlemen, but it is the authors, reviewers, end-users and developers who create all of the information from which these middlemen profit.

KnowledgeArc.Network aims to incentivize the community and revenue will go directly to the participants of ecosystem. Citations and licensing will flow directly to the creators of works archived to the ecosystem through the use of automated agreements (smart contracts). Community members will conduct peer review, with smart contracts providing remuneration directly. Developers will have access to the entire system and will be able to create tools and processes which directly benefit all users. And users will be able to directly reward content creators for their contribution to the ecosystem.

Alternative statistics and metrics could even result in additional earnings for content creators as impact factor is monetized.

KnowledgeArc.Network whitepaper

We distilled our vision into our official whitepaper which is available for download.

Active development

The whitepaper is not the start of our development cycle. KnowledgeArc.Network has been in development for 2 years and momentum is growing.

We are integrating various technologies with our archiving platform and ecosystem and cultivating partnerships with other blockchain systems which we have identified as key to the evolution of the KnowledgeArc.Network ecosystem.

Tokenomics

The utility token, Archive (ARCH) powers the KnowledgeArc.Network for transactions within the decentralized ecosystem.

Community members participating in the ecosystem will be able to directly earn tokens; authors will earn through citations and licensing, peer reviewers through verifying the authenticity of works, developers by extending functionality and providing customizations and resource providers by providing solutions such as backups and hosting applications.

We are working on ways to make using Archive as easy as possible and are incentivizing key archiving players to embrace KnowledgeArc.Network and blockchain technologies to replace redundant solutions and methodologies.