New IBM Patent Claims Blockchain Can Power Open Scientific Research and Post Analysis Results

Scientific research methodology can be massively improved through blockchain technology. This is according to the latest patent application led by a team at IBM‘s Watson Research Center.

It was filed by researchers Maria Chang, Jae-Wook Ahn, Ravindranath Kokku, and Patrick Watson for the first time in December 2017. Currently, there is a limited number of platforms that allow for the sharing of scientific research data as they do not have the required mechanisms set up for the collaboration of trustworthy data. The ideal platform according to the paper would be based on Blockchain and it would enable the storage of transparent data as well as analysis steps.

The abstract for the patent aptly titled “Blockchain For Open Scientific Research” reads:

“Techniques facilitating using a blockchain system that integrates the trustworthiness of the blockchain concept with open scientific research by generating a blockchain of the experiments formed, data collected, analyses performed, and results achieved are provided herein. In an example, the blockchain system can form a blockchain representing a research project, wherein the blockchain comprises the first block of research data and the second block of analysis data representing a log of an analysis performed on the research data. Summary blocks and correction blocks can also be added to the blockchain representing the post analysis of the research results. One or more of the subsequent blocks can be linked to the preceding blocks using information in block headers that can also serve to determine whether modifications to the blocks have been performed.”

Essentially, this can be thought of as an elaborated change-log but for the domain of scientific research. A change-log is a log or record of all notable changes made to a project. The project is often a website or software project, and the change-log usually includes records of changes such as bug fixes, new features, etc.

The patent further states

“Currently, there are limited platforms that allow for sharing information about scientific research and showing transparent data collection and analysis steps. Platforms that do exist, lack the requisite controls and mechanisms to allow for trustworthy data, as there are few options for ensuring that data will be resistant to modification.”

IBM has been actively seeking blockchain based patents and is one of the leaders in the numbers of secured patents in this domain.

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