“Science holds the Key to our civilization’s growth and progress”–Paul Ebeling
Still, most of the world’s great scientists have suffered. Some of them died at the stake while others succumbed to poverty and unrecognition.
It is evident that making life difficult for scientists pursuing research has been the status quo so far. Inadequate funding for experiments, trials and apprenticeships has crippled scientific communities worldwide. And given the rising demand for scientific discoveries in fields like medicine, among others, it is now time to propose genuine, long-term solutions.
But for that to happen well, 1 must begin by understanding the problem because the issues are highly structural and require radical changes to how science is done.
Scientists currently spend a lot of time writing grant proposals and applications to funding agencies. Some professors “spend 50% of their time writing grant proposals”. These professors are unable to focus on research or teaching.
For example, the US federal government, a Key source of scientific funding has made deep budget cuts since the 2000s.
The US National Institutes of Health approved 30% of grant applications in Y 2000. Whereas in Y 2022, the approval rate has fallen to 16%. The consequent fund crunch causes severe operational inconveniences, but more concerning is that it hampers the quality of ongoing studies and publications.
Funding crisis is not only about inconvenience
Scientists struggling with funding often abandon more radical ideas for safe, predictable and even pseudoscience. Stiff competition in the prevailing ‘publish or perish’ setup makes things worse, binding scientists in a vicious circle.
Since their success depends too much on metrics like the h-index, scientists prefer topics yielding statistically significant results and a publishable data set. This introduces a significant topic selection bias, as highlighted in a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
On the other hand, when private companies fund scientific research, they tend to manipulate findings to suit their vested interests. This is particularly true of clinical Rx drug trials where pharmaceutical companies sponsor positive reviews based on biased trial interpretations.
Lastly, the above hurdles ultimately weaken the very core of scientific knowledge pursuit. Whatever radical ideas brave the storm somehow end up in low-impact journals, limiting their potential to change the world. Human civilization is not getting any better from this. It needs alternative funding models for the sake of scientific progress.
Decentralized science: a vision for the future
Decentralized science (DeSci) is an ongoing global movement to rethink the scientific research ecosystem using blockchain technology. It adopts the Web 3.0 model of decentralized ownership, enabling fair and equitable scientific research funding.
Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are critical to DeSci’s framework for introducing funding opportunities for scientists and researchers. They leverage automated, tamper-proof ‘smart contracts’ to offer a cutting-edge alternative to traditional funding agencies. Their end goal is to incentivize innovative research.
DeSci’s DAO-based model engages distributed communities to decide on idea selection and funding. There a few high-ranking officials no longer control the process. DAOs significantly lower entry barriers instead, eliminating gatekeeping and bureaucratic hurdles that hinder free scientific research.
DeSci has demonstrated that a massive capital fund with high-risk tolerance is not a prerequisite to investing in science. Even retail investors with limited capital and a low-risk appetite can support scientific research through DAOs. Communities can also interact with scientists directly to discuss and decide on innovative ideas, that is groundbreaking.
DAOs facilitate investments in scientific research across stages through various innovative strategies. Using NFTs for community funding is one such strategy. It gained immense popularity in Y 2021 when scientists sold diverse NFTs to fund everything from genomic data collection to university research papers.
Some of the greatest benefits of tokenizing scientific research material as NFTs include greater accessibility, transparency and accountability. Scientists moreover retain complete control over their research data, avoiding manipulation, coercion and censorship. Emerging DeSci platforms further enhance these abilities, opening up newer avenues.
For centuries, purists and skeptics have underestimated a common person’s capacity to identify and fund valuable scientific research. DeSci DAOs turn such prejudices on their head. Of course, they do engage domain experts wherever necessary, but overall, they encourage optimal participation even from non-scientists.
DAOs ultimately offer a level playing field as amateur and expert scientists can compete fairly. This inspires riskier, more potent research since the new landscape has funding for every innovation. Here, biases lose their strength while genuine knowledge excels. And ultimately, DeSci paves the way for a bright, free and progressive scientific future.
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Editor’s Note: The market cycle is a naturally occurring phenom, attributable to human psychology, and has repeated itself time and time again, though with some variations, in the lives of nearly all market traded instruments. This cycle repeats itself to varying degrees but is fairly accurate in representing the shift between market sentiments of euphoria and pessimism, and an acknowledgment of this natural phenom is Key to profiting from any traded instrument, including Bitcoin. My work shows a return to the mean and then all-time highs in here. Tune out fear.
Have a prosperous day, the Chaos is over!