Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis Group and Cambridge University Press have joined a pilot project to test blockchain technologies applications to peer review.
Blockchain for Peer Review focuses on the problems of research reproducibility, recognition of reviewers and the rising burden of the peer-review process. The project will develop a protocol where information about peer review activities, submitted by publishers, are stored on a blockchain.
Deborah Kahn, Publishing Director, and lead on the project for Taylor & Francis said: “At a time when trust and transparency are increasingly important, high quality peer review is fundamental to the scholarly communication process. The use of blockchain to help to solve some of the current challenges in peer review is a timely initiative, and we are delighted to be able to contribute to its success.”
It is hoped the technology will allow the review process to be independently validated, and data to be fed to relevant vehicles to ensure recognition and validation for reviewers. By sharing peer review information, while adhering to laws on privacy, data protection and confidentiality, we hope to foster innovation and increase interoperability.
All three publishing companies will share key information around publisher and peer review workflows, and make a number of journals available to the pilot for development purposes. Blockchain specialist software company, Katalysis, will provide technical expertise to the creation of the test platform while non-profit organisation, ORCID, will share insights on personal identifiers and authentication. Digital Science will continue to manage this non-commercial industry initiative.
Brigitte Shull, Director of Scholarly Communications R&D from Cambridge University Press said: “Peer review is one of the most vital services we provide to the academic communities we work with and this includes the exploration of new technologies and processes where it offers an opportunity for better peer review outcomes. We are excited to learn more about the ways in which blockchain applications will help us to innovate and evolve as an industry.”