What Can Open Science Learn and Use From DECODE’s Blockchain Urbanism Research and Tech Stack?

DECODE – DEcentralized Citizen Owned Data Ecosystem

In the context of contemporary urban development the growth of Smart Cities through—IoT, the sharing-economy such as AirBnB, digital services and platform from the private sector like Uber, or from municipal provision as in metro transport—there is a need for personal data privacy and for a level playing field in ‘aggregated data’ access for service providers and researchers. The EU Horizon 2020 funded DECODE research project has been developing just such a technical infrastructure to ensure smart and safe cities. With the motivation of the research being for real world implementation by all types of service providers using Privacy by Design principles. The question for Open Science and scholarly communications is, how can these principles and technologies be transferred from urbanism to academia.

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Citation Indicators in Transition: Sharpening our insight into science requires more than refining existing citation indicators

Dave Kochalko of ARTiFACTS.ai takes us through key presentations from the STI 2018 conference that clearly demonstrate the littering of crevasses in citation metrics—knowledge gaps, research not counted, or biases not accounted for. The blogpost points to how scientometrics research, and new technologies like blockchain can be the foundations for a long overdue reworking of science metrics.

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Decentralizing Education via the Blockchain

Figure: The process of generating Smart Blockchain Badges by matching the learner’s skills with job offerings.

Today’s centralized education model is no longer sustainable, as learning happens increasingly outside the brick-and-mortar lecture halls of schools, colleges, and universities, in online platforms within communities of like-minded individuals. In the networked, digitally empowered world of the 21st century, education providers often do not have remit or the means and capacity to cover the range of activities learners engage with, which attest their achievements, knowledge, and skills.

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#GenR Theme: The Decentralized Web – A Gutenberg Threshold! Running: Sept-Oct 2018

A call for contributions!

Image credit: NASA, ESA and the HST Frontier Fields team (STScI), Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt, 2013. https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1610a/ 
NB: A tip to McLuhan’s notion of ‘knowledge galaxies’ (McLuhan, 1962), and J.C.R. Licklider and his memos on ‘Intergalactic Computer Network’. (Licklider, 1963)

#decentralizedweb – A Generation R Open Science theme running from late August to early October 2018


Intro: A Gutenberg threshold!

The frame of Gutenberg and the spread of book technology with the accompanying acceleration in learning, as an example of earlier information revolutions, has been a long-standing comparison for the growth of the Internet. For example in the book From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg by John Naughton. (Naughton, 2015)

What is of value in the comparison of the creation of the system of ‘movable type’ and systems of the ‘decentralized web’ is the similarity in needing the convergence of many existing technologies to create a new technological pathway for knowledge, such as the book, or the decentralized web. It is then the far reaching impact of these new pathways which in turn create new: knowledge systems, institutions, industries, knowledge regimes, and knowledge galaxies (McLuhan, 1962), etc.

  • With ‘movable type’ the technologies were, as examples: metallurgy, paper, the press, and type matrix, etc.
  • Similarly with the ‘decentralized web’ it is a convergence of technology and also accompanying developments that make it a game changer in opening up a new pathway for knowledge. Example technologies are: the Merkle tree, cryptoIDs, content addressable, LOD, ontologies, DevOps, continuous integration, etc.
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