The famous computer manufacturing company, IBM, published their patent application back on the 8th of November. This patent presents the idea of utilizing blockchain technology in allowing researchers to track their work, as well as others, in a shared digital database.
Specifically, this system is a changelog. It provides a “tamper resistant log of scientific research.” Researchers are able to upload sections of their research, or ‘blocks’, to the changelog. The first block contains research data and the second block contains analytical data collected on the research data. It is also possible to add summary blocks and correction blocks to the blockchain. These would represent the post analysis of the research results.
The program is titled ‘Blockchain for Open Scientific Research’. It was first filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office in December of 2017. IBM researchers Jae-wook Ahn, Maria Chang, Patrick Watson and Ravindranath Kokku are listed as its inventors.
The utilization of blockchain technology for this program solves several issues researchers normally face regarding the recording of their findings. As the patent explains, there are currently a limited number of platforms which allow scientists to share information and data without national limit. Those few platforms which 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.”
Blockchain solves these issues thanks to its decentralized nature. Data published on the system would be without institutional limit, allowing researchers around the world to view each other’s most recent findings. Information shared would be fully transparent as details about who uploaded the data and when would be automatically uploaded as well. Finally, the data would be secure as, once uploaded to the blockchain, it would be impossible to modify.
This marks another blockchain based patent in the long line of blockchain projects IBM has produced in the past few years. Whatever way cryptocurrency may go in the future, it would seem that blockchain is heading to becoming a regular part of our lives.