Next steps for the Blockchain for Peer Review initiative

During the last 14 months, we’ve piloted the suitability of the blockchain technology to solve urgent challenges in the peer review process. We tested the MVP solution developed with Amsterdam-based technology company Katalysis, and validated that the blockchain could indeed facilitate the safe exchange of peer review data between publishers and other parties in the scholarly ecosystem. We have also defined a tentative roadmap for future development, where we prioritized an integration with Crossmark. Based on settings safely stored on the blockchain, author and reviewers can decide to share reviewer identities, review reports, and other elements of the review process.

Many other exciting things have also been happening in the review space. ORCID is continuously improving the ability to store peer review contributions in ORCID records. Publons is not only working on improving the recognition of peer review, but also working on its transparency and the efficiency of finding reviewers. And of course, publishers are making important steps themselves towards improving the peer review process.

Each of these initiatives, including Blockchain for Peer Review, have strengths and weaknesses. As they grow and evolve, we need to ensure they develop in a way that is good for the community and doesn’t duplicate effort. For this reason, the Blockchain for Peer Review initiative and Publons have organized a unique seminar where representatives of several publishers, funders and other representatives of the scholarly ecosystem will meet and discuss the following:

  • Can we develop common standards in order to improve the transparency, efficiency, recognition and transportability of the peer review process?
  • What is the ideal technology and infrastructure to achieve that, and how can we prevent the duplication of effort? Is blockchain the preferred solution, or would we prefer centralized services? Or perhaps a combination of the two?

With the outcomes of the meeting, we can validate the roadmap for the coming years to achieve our shared goals around improving the peer review process.

The meeting, which is made possible through support from Digital Science, Publons and Springer Nature, will take place in London on September 5th. Afterwards, we’ll share the results and how it will impact the future of the Blockchain for Peer Review initiative. We are very excited that many have already confirmed their attendance, so it promises to be a fruitful meeting. Until then, we wish you a great summer.

If you’d like to receive more information about the meeting or want to contact us for questions or suggestions, please email Joris at j.vanrossum@digital-science.com