PROGRAM


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Day 1 - Tuesday, May 15, 2018


1:00pm- 1:05pm

Welcome and Opening Remarks (Mason Room)
Marcie Granahan, Executive Director, NFAIS

1:05pm- 2:00pm

OPENING KEYNOTE (Mason Room)
Scholars Keep Records: Blockchains As a Natural Step Towards Better Record Keeping [Slides]
Christopher E. Wilmer, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, and Managing Editor of Ledger, University of Pittsburgh [bio]

Chris Wilmer

Record keeping is arguably the defining feature of scholarship. It is precisely the difference between famous scientists and those perhaps equally intelligent but forgotten geniuses that the former wrote down their observations but the latter did not. Moreover, only those records that were durable, legible, and able to be transmitted and copied faithfully, could have significant impact. Record keeping has always been a challenge throughout history, and though the advent of modern computing may seemingly make the problem trivial, many significant challenges remain, often acting as an invisible hindrance to research and scholarship. Blockchains are a new way to keep records that solve, and dramatically simplify, many of the problems facing us even today with modern computing systems. In this talk, Wilmer surveys a range of challenges with existing record keeping strategies and how using blockchains potentially solves them. 

2:00pm- 3:00pm 

PANEL SESSION: Blockchain's Impact on Researcher Workflow (Mason Room)

Will the Rise of Blockchain Technology Disrupt Scholarly Publishing? [Slides]
Michael Puscar, Founder and President, Oiga Technologues [bio], and Neville A. Mehra, Principal, Digital Strategy, Napora, Inc. [bio]

Michael Puscar

Neville Mehra

Researchers are often pressured to finish their work quickly in a race to publish their findings before other researchers, who often times publish more quickly and in less prestigious journals with less rigorous peer review standards. A scientist may be the first to make a unique discovery in his or her industry, but in our current paradigm there is no way to prove that they made the discovery or assertion first.

Blockchain technology can be leveraged to solve many of these problems, providing researchers with a tool through which they can record incremental experiments that lead to later discoveries. When placed on the ledger, this research is not only secure but immutable, conclusively proving its authenticity and the date of discovery. In this presentation, Puscar and Mehra scrutinize existing, established norms in scholarly publishing and present examples of how blockchain technology will vastly improve the efficiency of researchers, and the viability of their research, while also providing publishers with access to more content within their subject areas. This analysis will include use cases for blockchain technology that result in substantial benefits for researchers and their funder.

3:00pm- 3:15pm

Break and Networking Opportunity (Mason Room Foyer)

3:15pm- 4:00pm

PLENARY SESSION (Mason Room)
Managing Scientific Funding via Blockchain [Slides]
Jason Barkeloo, Founder and Chair, Knowbella Tech [bio]

Jason Barkeloo


In this plenary session, Barkeloo will discuss connecting scientific researchers with funding sources and, more specifically, to systems and methods for providing a decentralized platform that allows scientific researchers and funders to enter into a research agreement.

4:00pm- 5:00pm

PANEL SESSION: Uses for Improved Discovery (Mason Room)

Unlocking and Powering Discovery Between Publishers for Shared Users [Slides]
Mads Holmen, Co-founder and CEO, Bibblio [bio]

Mads Holman

All the power on the internet belongs to the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon—largely because they control content discovery. Users return to them time and again instead of browsing around the web like originally intended because the mode is direct, trusted and because these developers built clever technology and algorithms that keep users hooked—all using what remains siloed information and data essentially provided by publishers that have themselves built websites, platforms and apps with walls around users.

This presentation will show how Blockchain technology can provide opportunity to take back this power by decentralizing the internet once again, with the potential to open up horizontal discovery on the web between publishers providing optimal discovery while at the same time, creating trust and transparency between publishers.

MakeElevator: Adding Blockchain Functionality to Computional Workflow-Managers [Slides]
Tyler Weirick, PhD, Research Technologist Senior, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, University of Louisville [bio]

Tyler Weirick

The increasing importance of computational analysis in science presents both new opportunities and challenges. Multiple-unrelated scientific discoveries can be made from publically available data, yet sharing and reproducing analyses becomes increasingly difficult with larger data sets and more complex computational pipelines. One answer to these problems is using computational workflow-managers. Workflow-managers help in a number of ways, such as easy parallelization in computing clusters and deleting unwanted intermediate files. Furthermore, these help with sharing and reproducibility such as automatically deleting failed runs and sharing pipelines with a single file.

MakeElevator is a simple blockchain-based protocol created to extend the utility of workflow managers, but it will also be useful in scholarly publishing. Named after Space Elevators, MakeElevator's name is inspired by GNU Make (the inspiration for many workflow managers) and the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). Similar to its name, MakeElevator uses the IPFS to create hashes for the input and output of GNU-Make-style "rules" and publically stores them in a blockchain. Once in the blockchain, this information can be used for many things, including speeding up re-analysis of data by automatically detecting and downloading data if another party has performed the analysis. This system can also be used to improve reproducibility and sharing within journal articles. For example, all rules and data are easily obtainable and data or even whole pipelines can be communicated within articles as hashes. In short, MakeElevator is an up-and-coming blockchain based technology with applications for computational-analysis based sciences and simplifying their scholarly publishing. 

 

Day 2 - Wednesday, May 16, 2018


8:30am - 9:30am

PANEL SESSION: Shared Decentralized Library Repositories (Mason Room)

Bibliographinomicon: Decentralized, Metadata, and Things Falling Apart [Slides]
Jason Griffey, Affiliate Fellow at Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University [bio]

Jason Giffey

Blockchain and other modern decentralized technologies have the potential to fundamentally change the flow of the information economy. Blockchain is, as its core, a technology that distributes power…what happens when the varieties of power in information flows are disrupted? Jason Griffey will discuss some of the fallout from these possible futures, from the potential for new DRM systems (and the likely legal challenges) to the re-decentralization of metadata collections.

 

 Advanced P2P Architectures:  Will Set New Standards for How We Take Care of Scholarly Works and Interactions [Slides]
Lambert HellerHead of Open Science Lab, TIB Hannover [bio]

Lambert Heller

Today, researchers who want to work systematically or at scale with third-party results must navigate an unreliable and rapidly changing landscape of business models, policies and APIs. Today, the “decentralized web” has the potential to change this. Here, there are no central repositories; instead infrastructure is decentralized and information is distributed between countless different computers, accessible to all, in what are called peer-to-peer networks. In this talk, it will be demonstrated what scholarly publishing can learn from higher education, where some institutions since 2015 deliver educational certificates via blockchain. Advanced decentralized architectures, peer-to-peer file systems like DAT and IPFS among them, have the potential to move value exchange between researchers - especially peer review - to the level of communicating directly, just following open protocols. Ultimately, this might turn out as a next step in the digitalization of science, superseding intermediaries. Without these intermediaries, incentives for producing better metadata are set straight – contributors and peer reviewers bearing witness directly towards one another, as well as towards the public. When unnecessary bottlenecks and privileged access to scholarly works and the transactions around them can be avoided to a large extent, this allows for permissionless innovation in publishing, leveling the playing field for innovative new business models beyond the few well-known legacy publishers.

9:30am - 11:00am

PANEL SESSION: Building a System for Researcher Recognition and Citation (Mason Room)

Stable and Decentralized? The Promise and Challenge of a Shared Citation Ledger [Slides]
Richard Ford Burley, Deputy Managing Editor, Ledger [bio]

Richard Burley

Current blockchain-based systems balance diverging vested interests in order to keep decentralized systems stable despite being effectively "trustless." This presentation will use this as a launching-off point for an exploration of the potential benefits and challenges of looking toward Bitcoin and other shared ledger solutions as a blueprint for a decentralized shared ledger for indexing citations. After a brief explanation of the ways Bitcoin maintains its stability despite the existence of various attack methods (e.g. 51% Attacks, Sybil attacks, etc.), it will turn to the potential academic and economic benefits of an open and shared distributed citation index, and the ways in which Bitcoin can and cannot be used as an analogue for such an index.

Blockchain and Publishing: Real World Experience [Slides]
Kevin McCurry, Chairman [bioand Courtney Morris, President [bio], ARTiFACTS 

Kevin McCurryCourtney Morris

The vision for ARTiFACTS sprang from the realization that distributed ledger technology/blockchain technology could be applied directly to scholarly communications.  Blockchain fits our current system of citation currency.  As Eugene Garfield said decades ago, "The Mertonian description of normal science describes citations as the currency of science. Scientists make payments, in the form of citations, to their preceptors." To work properly, scientists must be able to create, claim ownership, share novel works, and assign proper attribution to prior work at all phases of their research.

However, the existing process of disseminating research and scientific discoveries is skewed towards published articles. Communication, sharing, and the ability to give or receive attribution are delayed far downstream—oftentimes several years—from when discoveries are made and formally communicated. Distributed ledger technology can deliver transformative value and efficiency in solving three fundamental needs for researchers, scientists and funders: 1) Establish proof-of-existence and confirm provenance at any time; 2) Protect and manage IP while dramatically improving ability for collaboration and knowledge sharing; and 3) Provide and receive real-time, comprehensive and immutable, break-proof attribution and linking for all relevant research artifacts.

In providing these three foundational services, ARTiFACTS believes the scientific and scholarly communities will be empowered to affect positive change. In this session, McCurry and Morris discuss some of the early learnings from their recent introduction of the ARTiFACTS system. 

11:00am- 11:15am

Break and Networking Opportunity (Mason Room Foyer)

11:15am- 12:00pm

PLENARY SESSION (Mason Room)
Mind Virus or Practical Technology [Slides]
Kent Anderson, Redlink [bio]

Kent Anderson

In this talk, the issues involved with providing security generally and the potential differentiation provided by blockchain will be discussed, including how society, currency, and privacy may all be changed, and where it may be overkill.

12:00pm- 1:15pm

LUNCH KEYNOTE (Mason Room)
The Impact of Blockchain on Scholarly Publishing: Developing a Strategy for Managing Digital Assets [Blockchain for Dummies - IBM Limited Edition]
Petr Novotny, Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM [bio]

Peter Novotny

Blockchain will do for trusted transactions what the Internet did for information. As IT moves to the Cloud, transactions must be trusted by all parties involved because the global digital economy depends on trust—not faith.

 Blockchain brings together shared ledgers with smart contracts to allow the secure transfer of any asset—from a physical asset like a shipping container, a financial asset like a bond, or a digital asset like scholarly content—across any business network. Transparency of transactions as well as the immutability of the shared blockchain ledger are key features when it comes to proofing the provenance of assets and allowing permissions-based authentication. Petr Novotny will address how blockchain is impacting research workflows, content discovery, and access to scholarly and scientific research.

1:15pm- 2:15pm

PANEL SESSION: Developing Roles, Standards, and Best Practices (Mason Room)

“Blocks” as “Digital Entities” – A Standards Perspective [Slides] [Slide Notes]
Patrice LyonsGeneral Counsel, Corporation for National Research Initiatives [bio]

Patrice Lyons

A blockchain can be viewed as a particular way of structuring a digital object that consists of multiple such objects each configured as a block. The notion of “blocks” and “chaining of operations” are not new ideas, much less a development based on a paper written in 2008, but have actually been with us for quite some time.  At least as early as the 1980’s, work on mobile programs was underway at Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI); and the Digital Object (DO) Architecture that emerged from these efforts led to the approval in September 2013 of ITU-T Recommendation X.1255 – Framework for discovery of identity management information that was based on the DO Architecture. This Recommendation may be implemented to enable interoperability across various digital entities, including blocks and/or blockchains. Since various technical approaches are being developed and deployed, and quite often such technology is heavily patented, it is advisable to adopt the non-proprietary technology described in X.1255 as a neutral basis for enabling interoperability going forward.

Blockchain Strategic Initiatives 
Sonia Mundra, President, Chenega Analytic Business Solutions [bio]

Sonia Mundra

All professionals should consider the use of blockchain as a new and exciting arrow in their quiver when it comes to program risk management. In fact, even recently as several months ago, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), published a draft paper discussing and defining blockchain and its role in security.

Traditional program structuring and deployment will not work well for blockchain technology. When we implement a new technology, we need to understand first what it is, potential use cases such as tracking the provenance and transfer of a digital asset, what we hope to accomplish, and then how we can implement to reduce the most risk to the organization.  This includes determining if blockchain encryption is a good fit for the assets (using a flowchart), determining if the organization is ready for the change (change management) and the role of training as bookends to the program (first initial training, then development of SOPs and user training once the blockchain has been deployed). 

This session will discuss how to reduce risk to the organization, as a poorly planned implementation can create turmoil and waste lots of time and money including a loose structure that can be applied as a baseline and then customized based on the needs of the organization. 

2:15pm- 2:30pm

Break and Networking Opportunity (Mason Room Foyer)

2:30pm- 3:30pm

PLENARY SESSION (Mason Room)
Decentralized Tech and Academic Publishing: What the Next 5 Years Will Look Like [Slides]
Conrad Barski, MD, Forward Blockchain [bio]

Conrad Barski

In this talk, Conrad Barski, M.D. (co-author of "Bitcoin for the Befuddled") will help us dive beneath the surface of increasingly overused terms such as "blockchain" and "decentralized ledger technology" to address the key questions at the heart of these new technologies:

1. Do they in any way represent fundamentally new ways of thinking about information?

2. Can these technologies help us to better manage complex modern authored information, which is often burdened by overlapping ownership and responsibilities spanning multiple organizations?

3. Why are there still so few convincing practical use cases for "blockchain technology" in 2018?

To answer these questions, we will first revisit common terms in IT, such as "security", "infrastructure", and "reliability". Along the way, it will become apparent that the data created in our modern world takes on many radically different forms. Furthermore, we will see that by ignoring these differences between "forms of data" for decades we have now ended up with IT systems in academic publishing (and elsewhere) that are needlessly brittle and inefficient.

IT systems for scholarly publication in the near future, if they adopt modern ideas such as blockchain technology, will look very different from systems of the present: In this future, data will be stored in many different places and forms and will be aggregated in new and sophisticated ways. This future is also a place where server systems will play a more limited role than they do today, with emphasis once again being placed on powerful client devices.

Conrad will conclude by giving an outline for how these new way of thinking will likely be applied to scholarly authorship and what the software used by academics may look like a few years in the future.

3:30pm- 4:25pm

CLOSING KEYNOTE (Mason Room)

The Blockchain and Cryptoeconomy Revolution in Science and Knowledge Creation – Current Status and What Should We Do Moving Forward [Slides]
Sönke Bartling, Blockchain for Science [bio]

Sönke Bartling

After a summary of what blockchain for science is and what it is not a report of the current situation of the blockchain ®evolution is provided.  A summary of the Blockchain for Science unconferences in Vienna/Zürich/Zug will be given. Funded task groups and first statements will be presented (Publishing on the blockchain, ICOs for research projects, blockchain infrastructure, etc.). Problems will be identified (e.g. identity, not to mention scalability, …) and ways to move forward will be identified.

4:25pm- 4:30pm

Closing Remarks/Adjourn (Mason Room)
Marcie Granahan, Executive Director, NFAIS

 

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