The scientific and educational publishing sector is worth an estimated $30 billion. However, there is little return on the investment institutions make in promoting that research, nor the scientists make in developing and compiling it. Dr. Arash Rafii, who pioneered his own research in gynecologic oncology and molecular biology, understands that struggle first hand after working 15 years in the medical field. But his newly minted technology start-up, ScieNFT, aims to change that.
As Rafii explains, publishing is a crucial step in career advancement for many researchers. “Scientists and researchers have to publish their work if they want to advance their careers—they don’t have a choice. It’s why we see upwards of five million papers published each year,” he says.
The Power of Blockchain in Scientific Pre-print Publishing
ScieNFT supports scientists in moving their research and careers forward. The company’s blockchain-driven distributed system will support transparent and innovative peer review, information sharing, and feedback while ensuring researchers receive the recognition and reward they deserve for industry-changing contributions.
Non-fungible tokens, more commonly known as NFTs, are a type of cryptographic asset that cannot be replicated, offering irrefutable evidence of a digital item’s authenticity, originality, and ownership. The technology can be applied to various things, including art, music, and, as ScieNFT proves, scientific research. This safeguards against unauthorized reproductions and ensures creators can monetize their work directly. It provides an irrefutable timestamp to illustrate the anteriority of research and, according to Rafii, can be incredibly helpful for invention disclosures and patents.
ScieNFT built its open-access preprint server upon the Avalanche blockchain, the technology underpinning NFTs. It provides a ledger of transactions around a specific asset—including purchasing, sharing, and citations. Authors can track these insights across a decentralized yet secure platform in real-time.
“We are already onboarding early adopters and have generated NFTs for diverse content, such as lectures and posters. The amazing aspect is the empowerment scientists and educators find in sharing their knowledge when adequately supported and credited,” reports Rafii. “We deeply believe this is what all scientific and educational sharing will be in the next few years.”
Once a piece of content has been created and minted on the platform, it takes approximately five minutes for the publication to be available on ScieNFT’s platform. The attached NFT ensures ownership for the authors and their institutions and acts as a timestamp to prove ownership. ScieNFT’s platform uses the SCI Token as its utility token of choice, which scientists will use to mint their NFTs and interact with others, including reviews and community engagement. Ultimately, the token will capture the value of science and education and reflect the quality of assets of a scientist, educator, or institution.
Building a Solution for Today’s Modern Researcher
Founded in 2021, ScieNFT’s leadership team saw both the modern challenges of scientific publishing and the opportunities of blockchain technology. Rafii left Weill Cornell Medicine to launch the company alongside co-founders Dr. Robert Walters and Fekry Aiad. As the company’s CTO, Walters is a long-time entrepreneur and earned his Ph.D. in physics from CalTech. Meanwhile, Aiad is a seasoned developer who previously worked alongside products like Elves, Bosta, and SOLO fintech.
“Our platform’s ability to share freely, protect, monetize, and share scientific work as NFTs provides researchers with a way to unlock the full potential of their discoveries,” says Walters. “This is a way to monetize their scientific work and gain control over their intellectual property.”
While the concept of applying new-age technology to an age-old publishing process, Rafii and his co-founders are confident that the scientific community will be open to a new approach. In addition to establishing partnerships with key research universities and scientific communities, ScieNFT is also working to develop a prestige matrix dubbed the “Sci Score.” To maintain quality and a well-curated marketplace, ScieNFT appoints key opinion leaders across different fields to help set the standard of “good” research.
The company recently announced a new investment partnership with Future Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm. The backing will provide ScieNFT with additional resources to expand its development and access to the platform. Learn more about ScieNFT’s publishing advancements at www.scienft.com.
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