I address an invitation to the whole community built on Polygon and to Polygon itself.
As a researcher in Polygon, I follow the evolution of new trends and interests that projects and communities express daily through forums, chats, and building new projects. Some of these trends are fleeting and short-lived while others, though perhaps also passing fads, have the potential to be transformative and evolutionary elements in web3 space. The topic that has been gaining ground lately is decentralized science (DeSci).
DeSci is the application of blockchain technology to various aspects of scientific research to make it efficient, accessible, transparent, and censorship-resistant.
There are many problems with traditional academic research, but some of the most significant ones are the exorbitant publication costs, lack of an incentive structure for researchers and reviewers, inefficiencies due to bureaucracy in research funding, and the lack of transparency.
The high cost of publication and access to research papers through expensive subscriptions are major obstacles for many established and potential researchers. Some well-established and reputed journals charge more than $10,000 to publish a paper. This means that only a small number have access to the latest research which can limit the dissemination of new knowledge.
Another problem with such centralized journals is their lack of bandwidth, and opacity when it comes to peer-review. The peer-review process, in which research is vetted by other experts in the field before it is published, can take months or even years. This slow pace means that new discoveries may not be available to the public in a timely manner.
What if the researchers can directly publish their findings on the decentralized ledger, peer-reviewed transparently by arbitrarily selected reviewers in the world without involving a third-party journal?
Apart from this, the process of traditional research funding has its own inefficiencies. It’s not easy to get funded for your revolutionary idea if you don’t have established connections with the people at the top of the hierarchy. And even if your proposal somehow gets accepted, it takes a lot of time (months, and sometimes years) to get it processed. It effectively kills the researchers’ motivation and interest. On the other hand, some of the DeSci protocols have been able to solve this problem of research funding using decentralized ledgers.
The lack of transparency in the research process is another significant issue. Even though the methodology and results of the research are publicly available, reproducibility and replicability of the research results often meet with failure. Additionally, the undisclosed financial interests of researchers can often influence the results of their studies. This lack of transparency can lead to the publication of biased or inaccurate research.
Even though the list of problems extends to infinity, DeSci has the potential to solve a lot of them. Anyone can contribute to the research process, which can be attributed to the decentralized and censorship-resistant nature of blockchain. This research process can be conducted at a cost much less than traditional research. Additionally, the use of smart contracts can increase efficiency, and help automate a lot of procedures. And finally, the transparency of the blockchain can help to ensure that research is conducted in a transparent and unbiased manner.
The DeSci topic, however, is scarcely debated within the main communities built on Polygon and in the Polygon DAO and I would like to know if there is an interest, coming from the community itself, to engage on this front.
I imagine that the approach can be more or less “engaged” and “engaging”: starting from a channel on discord and on the forum, and then arriving at real support for DeSci themes by the DAO and Polygon itself.
I await feedback from everyone, thanks for your attention.