Adding a DeSci Section to SCRF?

Sorry for my delay and thanks for the great conversation!

tl;dr - I think we should support a new forum popping up; I want to argue that we should still have a meta-science or meta-research category as suggested by @erikvanwinkle instead of a DeSci section for now; at the least, DeSci and meta-science tags?

I want to point out that the Blockchain for Science community is launching a discourse forum dedicated to DeSci. They’ve been managing the largest DeSci telegram group and I think that forum will be the perfect place to direct most longer-tail DeSci related discussions. I’ll link to it in a future comment once it’s up (which should be in the coming weeks).

It seems there’s general consensus on having DeSci on the forum. Summaries of DeSci papers is something that is very in line with existing SCRF activities. We will also be posting some peer review related posts as a result of our peer review project (which itself has 3 subprojects: 1) the V1 peer review experiment, 2) building knowledge repositories, and 3) building peer review oriented community - the latter two of which are recent additions).

To the points of @Larry_Bates , @jmcgirk, @Twan and others made in terms not rushing into creating sections before we have sufficient content to warrant a new section, I do see the benefit of focusing on getting more content in the area first and going from there. As @zube.paul pointed out in terms of potential DeSci content types, which are great suggestions, we can possibly start creating some of those and seeding that area. Especially if we create a meta-science section (as per @erikvanwinkle ) or tag and a DeSci tag (as @jringo suggested) there should be enough organization to capture relevant conversations.

@valeriespina, my thinking when posting this initially was mainly centered around the fact that there wasn’t a place capture a lot of the conversational momentum from the last 5ish months of activities (as @UmarKhanEth brought up). A lot of discussions are taking place in the telegram group linked to at the top, some in our discord, and in a few other telegram groups and other communities’ discords and the idea of creating a place to capture longer form ideas and to synthesize knowledge from existing chat based convo’s came up a few times. I was unaware of the Blockchain for Science plans for the forum and after catching up with Martin (one of the founders of that community), it seemed to make much more sense to have the following split:

  • The Blockchain for Science forum focuses on general DeSci forum conversation
  • SCRF focuses on (in addition to all of our core topics) capturing research summaries and web3+research oriented discussions pertaining to DeSci and meta-science

We will want to stay in close contact with that community to ensure that there’s a minimization of duplication, but it could still create for a nice balance. I would be very supportive of creating a grant to support the creation of a notable works list for DeSci (having sections under it such as general, research, review, publication). I also think supporting the creation of a list of Key/Open Problems in DeSci makes sense and we can learn from the creation of the Open Problems in DAO Science doc that is being drafted. We can also support the creation of the type of post that @Sami_B brought up.

I think there’s still a lot for us to figure out and we don’t necessarily have to make a new category to make sure that we capture the conversations that are coming up. As @Fizzymidas reminded, we have the base of most people in the community not being against DeSci as a content category. I do think that a meta-science section makes sense and added a bit more below on it the idea. At the very least, it sounds as though adding tags to link the existing/upcoming pieces might be a good idea.

Meta-science section

I think this section could capture:

  • How to improve the design of what we’re doing at SCRF
  • Research summaries/discussions posts on how to improve science (research, review, publication, or enabling systems)

Even though all of the arguments made on not having a lot of content apply here, this does feel like a specific research domain that we have not really been focusing on (unlike application domains like DeFi or DeSci). We would have to be mindful to keep this section oriented to the intersection of meta-science + web3, but at the very least, this could be a home for the peer review related content we want to start posting soon and would capture summaries (I know we’re exploring one at the moment). I’m very ok with waiting till we have the content before adding the section if that feels like the most logical approach to the contributors/community, but I do wonder if that just creates more work re-tagging later if we know we have content coming and given that we’re interesting in doing a series of peer review experiments (and more content there as a result).

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Sure! When I say application domain, I’m referring to something like DeFi or DeSci while with research domain, I’m referring to something like cryptography or governance. The ‘domain’ bit is meant to refer to a set of related activities/projects and the ‘application’ or ‘research’ bit is about what the activities/projects are focused on

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The DeSci forum from Blockchain for Science got announced: https://desci.blockchainforscience.com/

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What is DeSci anyway?

A paper featured in Research Pulse #66 provides an interesting definition of this emerging theme.

Project contributions, such as hypotheses, methods, experimental data, modeling, simulation, assessment, predictions and directions are crowdsourced using blockchain, and captured by so-called non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”). The so enabled, highly integrative approach, termed decentralized science (“DeSci”), is destined to move research out of its present silos, and to markedly enhance quality, credibility, efficiency, transparency, inclusiveness, sustainability, impact, and sustainability of a wide spectrum of academic and commercial research initiatives.

What excites me the most about DeSci relates to data sharing. This industry is highly segmented when it comes to data collection and modeling. Frequently in Research Pulse, there are papers that accompany full repositories with outstanding tooling and data. However, these repositories fall into obscurity because of existing publishing workflows and low visibility by industry peers. On other occasions, authors have to reinvent the wheel and build data pipelines from scratch as they’re not aware of previous publications that have built and open-sourced data collectors.

It remains to be seen whether the tokenization of this data will become monetarily viable but I’m convinced that, at the very least, the increased discoverability of data will positively impact the industry. Whether it’s an NFT marketplace, a Token Curated Registry (TCR), or DAO, might not matter much initially.

As a forum, we could “front-run” the trend and have a dedicated section as the DeSci theme evolves. Given how broad the theme is, it could be helpful for that section to have a clear scope and perhaps focus on data.

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Agreed – I can’t imagine DeSci replacing journals anytime soon, if for no other reason than the snobbery of academics (to use an example from my career, my ebooks published by Amazon’s literary imprint weren’t considered ‘publications’ by the universities I was working for) but sharing hoards of data could really become a valuable public good.

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Well It seems that everyone is in favor of having DeSci on SCRF, and I am one of them.

Reasons why we should add a DeSci Section

DeSci is associated with sharing statistics, so adding it to the platform will have many positive effects. We can all agree that the information and statistics gathering and modeling of the DeSci network are highly fragmented, so it’s cool to add the category. Although this may stray from the original SCRF concepts, I believe this is a good opportunity to build on the work that has already been done. Of course, we must provide some guidelines as discussed during a community talk in order to help keep the project on track.

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