Case Study: DeSci Labs and Filecoin: Enabling a Future of Open Science

Key Highlights:

  • The “Replication Crisis,” the notion that results reported in scientific papers are frequently unable to be reproduced and independently verified by other researchers, has been an open secret within the scientific community for several decades now.

  • This is problematic because rigorous testing and replication of studies by other researchers is a  foundational component of advancing scientific knowledge. Research cannot be appropriately evaluated and used for future projects if the tools needed to replicate it are lacking.

  • Nature reported in 2016 that 70 percent of researchers had tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiment. A 2023 report suggests that 28 percent of all biomedical papers published in the medical field are either "made up or plagiarized" outright, while others suggest that number may be much higher. Suffice to say that it is difficult to discern when scientific studies, even when published in reputable journals, can be fully trusted.

  • This problem has existed for decades because:

    • There exists a lack of incentives for scientists to embrace replicability.
    • The scientific world lacks a robust technology stack that can enable knowledge sharing for easy reproducibility;  the infrastructure does not exist currently to do this quickly, easily, and cheaply.
  • Solving science’s Replication Crisis is the basis of the work by DeSci Labs, which aims to address these challenges by leveraging decentralized technologies like lnterPlanetary File System (IPFS) and Filecoin, which operate "under the hood" of its scientific publication app called DeSci Nodes.

  • Filecoin provides a needed solution by making storage affordable, preventing vendor lock-in and fostering a culture of openness. By storing research objects in a decentralized repository, it becomes possible to share the entire research object with data and code, provide versioning, and ensure reproducibility.

  • By embracing open science principles and leveraging decentralized web technologies such as Filecoin and IPFS, the scientific community can overcome the challenges posed by the lack of transparency and reproducibility. These tools are the foundation of DeSci Labs’ vision for creating an open-access network without paywalls, barriers, and vendor lock-in, where scientific data is stored and accessed in a way that facilitates collaboration, transparency, and the free flow of knowledge.

Read the full Filecoin Foundation Case Study: DeSci Labs and Filecoin: Enabling a Future of Open Science