Overview of the DeSci Publishing Landscape

Decentralised Science (DeSci) solutions to problems faced by researchers can be broadly divided into Trust, Funding, Execution and Publishing categories. While DeSci has shown potential to make a major impact towards research; publishing has been one of the major bottlenecks for research and needs immediate solutions. Solutions in the form of different startups have been established that are seeking to solve the issues with decentralized publishing or aimed at solving other parts of publishing.

Decentralized Science (DeSci) is a paradigm shift or in a broader sense a natural progression in scientific research that uses decentralized technologies such as blockchain and IPFS to revolutionise traditional research. DeSci is based on four principles that are the core of scientific research: transparency, incentives, decentralisation, and cooperation.

Below are some of the

DeSci Nodes

DeSci.co or DeSci Nodes is ahead in terms of a usable publishing platform with a multi prolonged strategy of solving some major pain points of publishing research. The node or dapp provides researchers and institutions with decentralised storage and also provides publishers with a platform to manage authors, paper and the code base on a single platform.

Currently operational on the Ethereum testnet, the platform is built on the premise of making research and its data more accessible and verifiable with the help of blockchain and Persistent Identifiers (PIDs), DeSci Nodes is probably one of the only few platforms to have a working application enabling researchers to share their research code and the data behind it.

DeSci Nodes For Researchers:

The node enables researchers to share preprints/manuscripts along with associated data, code and images. Imagine an arXiv like flexibility to share research and all its associated data faster and invite inputs from researchers around the world. Accessing papers does not require any gas fees / access tokens, which is a respite for researchers battling against paywalled articles. Changes are version controlled with the wallet/user.

Pros: The setup is great for decentralising the process of preprints and combines it with publishing to streamline publication bottlenecks currently existing in research. It brings version control to scientific documents that

Cons: While it frees research from the binds of conventional publications, it lacks the reason why most researchers publish there in the first place, the h-factor and impact factor of the journal effecting their rankings. The platform also lacks means of verifying researcher credentials or collaborating.

Also while it brings version control from Github, it still lacks ability to fork, collaborate and raise issues or even comment.

DeSci Nodes For Institutions: DeSci nodes created for institutions allow strict adherence to open acess and to the the FAIR principles & research software management by creating PID collections.

DeSci Nodes For Journals: DeSci Nodes provides a publication management system with a soon to be announced reviewer recommendation system with the feature to offer curated badges to researchers and research.


ResearchHub is trying to solve the problem of incentivising reviewers to review preprints or for that matter give their opinions on anything. By assigning review bounties to research papers, Reesearch hub seeks to speed up the review process.

Peer reviewing is vital to progressing research and has lately been facing lack of voluntary participating owing to the fact that reviewing does nothing for a researcher’s career prospects. Lack of reviews have delayed publication of crucial research for months on and will become even worse in the coming years.

ResearchHub’s ResearchCoin (RSC) tokens are used as way to set bounties and reward reviewers for sharing their inputs. Unlike traditional review process, anonymity is not an option which creates a transparent review system while also adding an incentive. RSC tokens can also be used to fund other research proposals.

Cons: While the bounties will increase reviews, it does not ensure quality of reviews. Giving significant incentives to reviews will attract bogus reviews which do more harm than good for research.

Other Mentionable Efforts: SciNet and SciDex are some other notable efforts to decentralise research publication. Some previous efforts such as decentralize.science are no longer operations, highlighting the huge challenge anyone trying to fix issues with publications face.

Labcritics Alerts / Sign-up to get alerts on discounts, new products, apps, protocols and breakthroughs in tools that help researchers succeed.