Scientists have acknowledged for years that there are large structural problems in science: the funding system is dysfunctional, results are frequently unreproducible, and scientific knowledge is siloed. Recently, a small but passionate group of technologists, scientists, and entrepreneurs have envisioned web3 and blockchain-based tools as potentially breaking these structural logjams. This has become the decentralized science (DeSci) movement, but it has percolated slowly while scientists have been sluggish to participate. 

In late 2021, Sarah Hamburg issued a call-to-action to scientists in Nature, and something clicked. Prominent scientists are beginning to recognize the opportunity, such as Eric Topol declaring that decentralized blockchain technology may be key to developing the smartphone apps we need to thwart the next pandemic. As the communities have finally begun to connect, DeSci has been gaining momentum in 2022.  

With that in mind, here is Future’s web3 x science coverage from this year so far, as well as some of the major writings and events across the community. Given that the DeSci movement is still in the early stages, we include some coverage of web3 and decentralization that provide some useful lessons and insights for the growing community. 

At Future :

A Guide to DeSci, the Latest Web3 Movement by Sarah Hamburg

A Guide to Decentralized Biotech by Jocelynn Pearl

Decentralization for Web3 Builders: Principles, Models, How by Miles Jennings

The Missing Link Between Web2 and Web3: Custody by Mahesh Vellanki

Around the web:

What is decentralized science? by Kay / CoinMarketCap

Decentralized Science – ResearchHub with Patrick Joyce, Anton Lebed / Smart Contract Research Forum Interviews

Cloud labs: where robots do the research by Carrie Arnold / Nature

The State of Crypto Report 2022 by Darren Matsuoka, Eddy Lazzarin, Chris Dixon, and Robert Hackett / a16z crypto

When blockchain meets artificial intelligence: An application to cancer histopathology by Runyu Hong David Fenyö / Cell Reports Medicine

DeSci: Can crypto improve scientific research? by Max Parasol / CoinTelegraph

Phage Directory: How a Decentralized Network of Researchers Find Cures / with Jessica Sacher, Jan Zheng, and Jocelynn Pearl / UltraRare

Community events:

ICYMI: DeSci.Berlin took place in May. Talks are online for both day 1 and day 2.

Upcoming events: DeSci Community Calendar maintained by Ariella Coller-Reilly

Event to watch: DeSci Boston Hackathon sponsored by VitaDAO, Molecule and more, Sept 23-25, 2022