Category Archives: Cambridge

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Open Access Publisher ScienceMatters Turns to Blockchain

Open Access Publisher ScienceMatters Turns to Blockchain (2)

ScienceMatters, a Swiss-based scientific online publishing platform, is now developing a peer review process based on blockchain technology.

Plans are currently underway to utilize Eureka, a publishing platform that uses the Ethereum blockchain, which will also enable reviewers of submitted work to be compensated for their efforts with Eureka tokens. The tokens can then be exchanged for other currencies.

ScienceMatter’s editorial director Tamara Zaytouni claims, “Eureka’s crowdsourced scoring will provide researchers as well as publishers with a new metric that can be used to evaluate the work swiftly, thus speeding up the publication process.”

The platform should prove to be a trusted and immutable research management service according to the founder of both Science Matters and Eureka, Lawrence Rajendran, who is also a neuroscientist at King’s College London. Although, as yet ScienceMatters doesn’t actually use Eureka, little will drastically change due to the thoroughness of the peer review process, Rajandran suggests. Once Eureka is employed, however, reviewers will be unknown to one another (with reviewers crowdsourced from Eureka users), although their activities and reviews will be logged for all to see. The only downside, according to some current users of the platform is that upfront fees are liable for manuscript processing, and this doesn’t come cheap at USD 595 and with no guarantee of publication save a partial refund if turned down.

ScienceMatters is not the only publication of its kind using blockchain tech. ARTiFACTS in Cambridge, Massachusetts, presents research which produces a wealth of interesting material — such as data sets, single observations, and hypotheses.

ARTiFACTS provides a forum in which researchers can upload almost anything that they deem worth sharing, logging their finds to a blockchain. Jim Tate, president of EMR Advocate, a health-care technology consultancy based in Asheville, North Carolina, and a member of a working healthcare blockchain group, is positive that there is a future in the new technology in the sharing of research information.

He commented: “The underlying blockchain technology of Artifacts has directly increased the speed and efficiency of our entire project.”

With many other publishers using blockchain now, it is clear this technology has found a place among researchers who need to share their findings and store them safely for posterity.


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Cambridge Scholars Invent Scheme to Track Stolen Bitcoin

Cambridge Scholars Invent Scheme to Track Stolen Bitcoin

A group of students from the UK’s prestigious Cambridge University has outlined a system whereby stolen Bitcoins might be able to be traced.

With the official number of stolen Bitcoins currently standing at over USD 1 billion in BTC, until now, such coins have remained largely untraceable. But three students, Mansoor Ahmed, Ilia Shumailor and Rose Anderson, have released their paper entitled “Tendrils of Crime“, outlining a plan for their recovery by victims of fraud.

The Cambridge paper outlines a system called Taintchain using a device called “first-in-first-out” (FIFO), a method which has been identified to have ancient origins in terms of accounting, and more recently within the legal system.

FIFO apparently calculates each Bitcoin’s satoshi, the principal units — a Bitcoin comprising 100 million satoshis — which are loaded with the required information to create transactions. FIFO, according to the Cambridge group, can track the movement of these transactions back to the Genesis wallet. “First in first out” simply means that if the first coins into the wallet were stolen, then so must be the first coins paid out from the same wallet.

It does appear to ignore that advanced features in some wallets such as “coin control” or input control mean that users can determine which inputs, expressed as coins, are used in a transaction.

The group has expressed confidence in the FIFO methodology as a way of tracking stolen Bitcoins suggesting, that despite a few basic issues still to be dealt with, the approach will work, given more innovation and further research.


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