Will Blockchain Disrupt the Scholarly Publishing Industry?

In customer planning sessions, at conferences, in meetings, there has been no escaping it. Publishers want to know the potential for blockchain technology to be a change agent in the industry, and ways that it might be applied in their own businesses.

The truth is that we still do not know if blockchain will have a significant impact on the scholarly publishing industry. But it certainly does have the opportunity to be disruptive, improving the efficiency of researchers, enabling more collaboration and providing publishers with an additional discovery tool to locate and solicit papers from researchers in their subject area.

Blockchain, the technology behind last year’s cryptocurrency rage, is essentially a secure, distributed ledger of transactions that establishes trust, accountability and transparency. Blockchain technology allows for parties to store information such that it is secure, time/date stamped, and immutable.

Unfortunately, many proposed solutions that I have seen in recent months are, in fact, solutions looking for problems. However the publishing industry does have several very real world problems for which blockchain is a natural and compelling solution.

In my next post I will lay out several use cases that focus upon empowering researchers and increasing the discoverability of their work within the research and publishing community.

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