IUPAC Blockchain Technology White Paper

During the 2019 Council Meeting in Paris, an attendee raised the point that two topics were the subject of high interest in his geographic region, specifically the uses of Blockchain Technology and Artificial Intelligence in scientific research and related activities. To follow-up with these questions, a Task Force was established to develop a White Paper on Blockchain Technology to be published and circulated to all NAO’s prior to the 2021 World Chemistry Congress. (The topic of Artificial Intelligence will be addressed during the Congress and the subject of the WCLM – more information to follow).

The goal of the White paper is to demonstrate how Blockchain technology is being used throughout the scientific research workflow – from ideas/hypothesis through to publication, sharing, and archiving. In addition, the paper will provide insights on why the technology is being used; the pros/cons of its usage; the challenges/opportunities of using Blockchain; and a reading list for those who want to learn more. We have already identified numerous use cases and interviewed experts from around the globe who are successfully applying the technology for the advancement of science: Examples include the Bloxberg Consortium, ARTiFACTS, DEIP, and others who offer services such as time stamping for proof-of-concept, secure data sharing, peer review and other publishing services, as well as document certification (blockcerts) and the use of blockchain for Covid-19 research tracking. These are just a few of the applications identified to date.

We are reaching out to you to see if there are any Blockchain-based initiatives that have emerged in your geographic region of the world that could impact science, education, research policies, etc. For example, we recently learned that the U.S. Department of Education is funding the American Council on Education to pursue Blockchain technology as a means to ensure that individuals can effectively communicate and share their skills and experiences to secure employment and that Japan is looking at the applicability of using blockchain to ensure the reliability of secure research results.

If you have any examples that you can provide, please send them to Bonnie Lawlor, chair of the Task Force at chescot @ aol.com, so that they can research these examples further and possibly include them in the White Paper.

Further reading in Chem Int

Lawlor, B. (2020). Blockchain Technology, Chemistry International, 42(3), 8-11; https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2020-0304 (read here)
Lawlor, B. (2021). Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Forging a New World for Scholarly Communication and the Advancement of Science, Chemistry International, 43(1), in press