Bold ideas and critical thoughts on science.

Open Science advocate Shakib Wassey tells how a digital platform for open scientific publication and interactive evaluation could change scientific publishing.

What is PeVO?

PeVO stands for “Publish and evaluate Onchain”. We are creating a decentralized publication platform which aims to change the way science is accessed, created, published and evaluated by using the blockchain technology. It helps us to create an immutable digital archive which is going to be free and unrestricted. At the moment there are three core team members, but we are also working together with 15 to 20 different scientists who try to support PeVO. The prototype of the platform as a digital repository will be published in the first quarter of 2018. And afterwards we are going to release our reputation algorithm by June of July 2018.

You launched PEvO to increase scientific impact. How will that work?

The problem science encounters right now is that two main services, access and evaluation, are restricted. Access is still limited by paywalls, even though open access is becoming more and more accepted by the community; evaluation is restricted by the necessity to rely on two to four peer reviewers or “referees” that evaluate scientific work.

We are going to reorganize the scientific publication cycle. On PeVo the whole evaluation cycle will begin right after the publication of a paper; there is going to be an ongoing evaluation after the works is published. So, we want to abolish price barriers and paywalls and overcome expressivity of knowledge. At the same time we want to increase publication quality and topicality by transparent peer reviewing.  

How should a revolution in science look like?

From my point of view, the way scientists build their reputation should be changed. It is necessary to become independant from scientific publishers. Scientists should be the creators of this new reputation or publishing system, they should also be the owners of their work, which means keeping all the rights when they publish something.

PeVO, for example, is going to create a completely open peer review system. Scientists on our platform can actually interact and all these interactions will increase their reputation. Every kind of activity on PeVO will have a special value, for example the review of an article, a comment on a paper or reproduction of scientific work. They will, of course, also depend on the reputation a scientist has already gained. This will be a very new mechanism created by scientists.

In my opinion, blockchain technology can be a very good way of decentralizing the whole publication system and giving the rights of scientific work back to the creators, who are the scientists themselves. When we have free and immutable digital archive, as soon as somebody publishes his paper on our platform, it can be directly cited. All interactions on our platform will be time stamped which means every scientist can prove that they have done these interaction or reviews. Nobody will be able to change the information. So, this can create a whole new way of keeping rights and reputation of work on the creator’s side.