Crypto Journal: The Use Of Blockchain In Editorial And Publishing Platforms. JES Case Study

 
PIIS278229070018324-2-1
DOI10.18254/S278229070018324-2
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Occupation: Head of laboratory
Affiliation: GAUGN
Address: Moscow, Maronovskiy pereulok, 26
Journal nameLaw & Digital Technologies
EditionVolume 2 № 1
Pages3-6
Abstract

The author endeavors to provide a retrospective analysis of the experimental use of blockchain technology in editorial and publishing activities on the platform for electronic scientific journals JES. The author considers the most promising cases of the implementation of this technology that formulate the general concept - Crypto Journal. Further, based on the review of sources in the public domain and 3 years experiment on the implementation of blockchain into JES journals, we demonstrate the major pain points, define the promising directions for further researches and give a careful optimistic forecast on the use of DLT in scientific periodicals.

KeywordsScientific journal, DLT, editorial and publishing activity, cryptocurrency.
Received10.04.2022
Publication date30.06.2022
Number of characters15418
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1. Introduction

As early as 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto was the first to describe the technical implementation of the first cryptocurrency Bitcoin that was based on distributed ledger. Following that, blockchain technology (hereinafter DLT) started to grow rapidly1. Ten years later, in their report «Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2018» Gartner ranked DLT as a promising technology that was placed between Peak of Inflated Expectations and Trough of Disillusionment23. By 2021, in the latest report «Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2021»4 blockchain no longer exists as an independent technology, but rather is represented by DLT derivative technologies such as NFT (Nonfungible Tokens) and DeFi (Decentralized Finance). As with other economic sectors, technologies such as DLT, smart contracts and tokenization attracted the attention of the major world publishers of scientific periodicals5. However according to the information available in public domain, big players did not find DLT implementation beneficial for their businesses, so they shifted their focus in 2019 to another anchor technology - AI (Artificial intelligence) 6. Quite another level of interest in DLT was demonstrated by start-ups that saw in it an opportunity to change the process of dissemination of scientific knowledge and market landscape in that sector of the economy7. In 2017 – 2020 many start-ups announced the start of promising projects on the DLT implementation in order to create fundamentally new publishing models. Those models were intended to make the process of creation and dissemination of scientific publications more transparent, reduce the role of publishers provide more opportunities for researchers, authors and scientific organizations to generate revenues, and almost completely replace a the conventional model of scientific journal and editorial process89. Due to their characteristics, DLT technologies can be implemented and used in editorial and publishing activities in the following aspects:

  • Ensuring immutability and authenticity of publications.
  • Introduction of new subscription models based on tokens and cryptocurrencies.
  • Registration and control over copyrights.
  • Increasing transparency of the submission and review process through smart contracts (DAO, decentralized autonomous organization).

Many researchers view these aspects as the most promising10 11. However, is it possible to implement DLT without disrupting the existing well-established model of a scientific journal?

1. Nakamoto, Satoshi, and A. Bitcoin. 2008. A peer-to-peer electronic cash system. .–URL: >>>> org/bitcoin. pdf

2. Kietzmann, Jan, and Chris Archer-Brown. 2019. From hype to reality: Blockchain grows up. Business Horizons 62.3. p.269-271

3. Miraz, Mahdi H., and Maaruf Ali. 2018. Applications of blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrency. arXiv preprint arXiv:1801.03528.

4. Gartner. 2021. Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. URL- >>>> . Published date 23 Aug 2021.

5. London Book Fair. 2019. With Blockchain and AI, Rana DiOrio Explores Publishing’s Cutting Edge >>>> Accessed date 19.03.2019

6. Finch, Gould. 2019. The Future Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Publishing Industry. Frankfurter Buchmesse Livre blanc.

7. Knowles, Kitty. 2019. Blockchain For Scientists Takes On Elsevier, The Business The Internet Couldn't Kill. URL- >>>>

8. Niya, Sina Rafati, et al. 2019. A blockchain-based scientific publishing platform. 2019 IEEE International Conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency (ICBC). IEEE.

9. Mackey, Tim K., et al. 2019. A framework proposal for blockchain-based scientific publishing using shared governance. Frontiers in Blockchain № 2.

10. van Rossum, Joris. 2018. The blockchain and its potential for science and academic publishing. Information Services & Use. Vol. 38 № 1-2. p 95-98.

11. Janowicz, Krzysztof, et al. 2018. On the prospects of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies for open science and academic publishing. Semantic web Vol. 9.5. p 545-555.
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In cooperation with the editorial and publishing platform JES, Laboratory for Blockchain Research in Education and Science of the State Academic University for the Humanities has been developing and testing the above-listed aspects for the last four years. Throughout the following sections, the author will provide a brief review of the results of practical experiments and plans for each of the above aspects. Together, the listed aspects will enable the formulation and testing of the new concept – Crypto journal.

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2. Main aspects of the Crypto journal concept

2.1 Ensuring immutability and authenticity of scientific publication

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By utilizing the main feature of data that is stored in DLT, namely the fact that data in public DLT networks cannot be changed, we may ensure the authenticity of published content12 13. Thus, the immutability of data can be achieved by storing the hash of scientific publication data in DLT and checking the previously recorded hash every time a URL is accessed from DLT. In contrast to digital signature, this check only requires the integration with the publishing site and with the public DLT that ensures immutability and transparency of data recorded in it14. Technical implementation of this approach is described in separate article15.

12. An Binh, Tran et al. 2017. Regerator: a registry generator for blockchain. CAiSE Forum and Doctoral Consortium Papers.

13. Solovyev, Aleksander V. and Tarkhanov, Ivan A. 2018. Electronic documents and the problem of ensuring safety in the exchange of data between information systems in the digital economy. Proceedings of the Institute for System Analysis RAS. Vol. 68. № 1. P 42-53.

14. Lemieux, V. L. 2016. Trusting records: is Blockchain technology the answer? Records Management Journal. Vol. 26. № 2. p 110-139.

15. Tarkhanov, Ivan, Denis Fomin-Nilov, and Michael Fomin. 2019 "Application of public blockchain to control the immutability of data in online scientific periodicals." Library Hi Tech (2019).
5 As we developed the JES platform and worked with journals, we discovered that over 90% of mistakes and changes into the published materials are related to the review of the main text. Thus, in the journal it is forbidden to edit the title, the list of authors, the annotation and other data associated with the imprint. A journal administrator can amend the article on behalf of the user. However, the amendments will result in the generation of a new hash and its recording into the blockchain. The main idea behind this approach was checking immutability in real time. In general, the check took 2-3 seconds, but as we used open Ethereum network as a DLT storage, its changes and resetting constantly caused problems with operational stability. Nevertheless, one of the advantages of this approach is the price.A check of 146 hashes in Ethereum cost 9.23 USD, compared to 29.2 USD for a service that offers similar functionality, Crossmark, during the 2019 experiment.
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2.2 New subscription models based on cryptocurrencies

In our experiment, we tried to implement a new subscription model based on Ethereum smart contracts and SuCoin token. The main idea is that all funds raised in real money are allocated in the form of tokens to all participants with the exception of publisher’s commission. Then, the more popular the token becomes, and the more publishers start to use it in their online journals, the higher the price of the token is, which motivates token owners to active and quality work in the specified digital ecosystem. Thus, there evolves a self-sustained “market” ecosystem 16 that is fueled by fiat money. The details and an analysis of the results of a 2-year experiment is presented in separate article17. The research shows that tokens' popularity did not spike after they were used in one journal. It is highly likely that this is due to a lack of promotion among authors engaged in journal publications and to the humanities background of the majority of researchers. Evidently, and our polls confirm it, the main obstacle was the difficulty of depositing and withdrawing tokens. Furthermore, users stated that there were not enough benefits to using SuCoin. Therefore, further steps in the development of the experiment should focus on providing more user-friendly options to use SuCoin. An example can be the transition from subscription model to open access with the option to pay an article processing charge (APC) or the ability to partner with other publishers for the development of co-use of crypto assets to create a unified journal ecosystem with the new economic model Crypto Access.

16. Narayanan, A., et al. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: A Comprehensive Introduction. Princeton University Press, 2016; >>>>

17. Tarkhanov, Ivan A., Denis V. Fomin‐Nilov, and Michael V. Fomin. 2021. Crypto access: Is it possible to use cryptocurrencies in scholarly periodicals? Learned Publishing Vol.34. № 2. p. 253-261.

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1. Nakamoto, Satoshi, and A. Bitcoin. 2008. A peer-to-peer electronic cash system. URL: https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

2. Kietzmann, Jan, and Chris Archer-Brown. 2019. From hype to reality: Blockchain grows up. Business Horizons 62(3): 269-271

3. Miraz, Mahdi H., and Maaruf Ali. 2018. Applications of blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrency. arXiv preprint arXiv:1801.03528.

4. Gartner. 2021. Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. URL - https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/3-themes-surface-in-the-2021-hype-cycle-for-emerging-technologies. Published date: 23 Aug 2021.

5. London Book Fair. 2019. With Blockchain and AI, Rana DiOrio Explores Publishing’s Cutting Edge. ULR - https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/international/london-book-fair/article/79491-london-book-fair-2019-with-blockchain-and-ai-rana-diorio-explores-publishing-s-cutting-edge.html Accessed date 19.03.2019

6. Finch, Gould. 2019. The Future Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Publishing Industry. Frankfurter Buchmesse Livre blanc.

7. Knowles, Kitty. 2019. Blockchain For Scientists Takes On Elsevier, The Business The Internet Couldn't Kill. URL - https://www.forbes.com/sites/kittyknowles/2018/06/13/blockchain-science-iris-ai-project-aiur-elsevier-academic-journal-london-tech-week-cogx/?sh=46df3ed51e0a

8. Niya, Sina Rafati, et al. 2019. A blockchain-based scientific publishing platform. 2019 IEEE International Conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency (ICBC). IEEE: 329-336.

9. Mackey, Tim K., et al. 2019. A framework proposal for blockchain-based scientific publishing using shared governance. Frontiers in Blockchain № 2: 19.

10. van Rossum, Joris. 2018. The blockchain and its potential for science and academic publishing. Information Services & Use. 38 (1-2): 95-98.

11. Janowicz, Krzysztof, et al. 2018. On the prospects of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies for open science and academic publishing. Semantic web 9(5): 545-555.

12. An Binh, Tran et al. 2017. Regerator: a registry generator for blockchain. CAiSE Forum and Doctoral Consortium Papers: 81-88.

13. Solovyev, Aleksander V. and Tarkhanov, Ivan A. 2018. Electronic documents and the problem of ensuring safety in the exchange of data between information systems in the digital economy. Proceedings of the Institute for System Analysis RAS. 68 (1): 42-53.

14. Lemieux, V. L. 2016. Trusting records: is Blockchain technology the answer? Records Management Journal. 26 (2): 110-139.

15. Tarkhanov, Ivan, Denis Fomin-Nilov, and Michael Fomin. 2019. Application of public blockchain to control the immutability of data in online scientific periodicals. Library Hi Tech. 37(4): 829-844. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-12-2018-0186

16. Narayanan, A., et al. 2016. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: A Comprehensive Introduction. Princeton University Press. URL - http://bitcoinbook.cs.princeton.edu/

17. Tarkhanov, Ivan A., Denis V. Fomin‐Nilov, and Michael V. Fomin. 2021. Crypto access: Is it possible to use cryptocurrencies in scholarly periodicals? Learned Publishing 34 (2): 253-261.

18. Izvestia site. 2020. Putin signed the law on regulation of cryptocurrencies. Published date 31.07.2020 URL- https://iz.ru/1042541/2020-07-31/putin-podpisal-zakon-regulirovanii-kriptovaliut

19. Wang, Junyao, et al. 2019. A summary of research on blockchain in the field of intellectual property. Procedia computer science 147: 191-197.

20. Savelyev, Aleksander. 2018. Copyright in the blockchain era: Promises and challenges. Computer law & security review 34(3): 550-561.

21. Johnston, D. 2014. The General Theory of Decentralized Applications, URL - https://cryptochainuni.com/wp-content/uploads/The-General-Theory-of-Decentralized-Applications-DApps.pdf

22. Singh, Madhusudan, and Shiho Kim. 2019. Blockchain technology for decentralized autonomous organizations. Advances in Computers 115: 115-140, Elsevier.

23. Kosmarski, Artyom, and Nikolay Gordiychuk. 2020. Token‐curated registry in a scholarly journal: Can blockchain support journal communities?. Learned Publishing 33(3): 333-339.

24. DEIP platform. 2021. URL - https://deip.world. Accessed date 10.01.2022

25. Wang, Guizhou, et al. 2021. A Systematic Overview of Blockchain Research. Journal of Systems Science and Information 9(3): 205-238.

26. Springer Nature Group. 2019. Springer Nature publishes its first machine-generated book. URL- https://group.springernature.com/gp/group/media/press-releases/springer-nature-machine-generated-book/16590134 Published date: April 2019

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