Submission for DigitalBits Category 1 (Marketplaces)

What inspired us?

As people in academia, we often struggle with putting our work forward and being credited for it. There are many occurrences where our work can be stolen, and current journals require a large amount of money to push publications. We are always on the lookout for a platform, where we can have fellow academics proofread our work without penalty or cost and where they can credit us if they choose to use our findings; e.g., schemes, drawings, models, and conclusions.

What is Academe?

In search of such a platform, we have created the Academe Marketplace, where academics like us can list their findings via smart contracts and have a digital record when another academic chooses to use their research materials. Additionally, researchers can capture 2D images (e.g., photographs) of their lab materials from different angles, where the Academe platform will lay it over a 3D image, “bringing it to life” for other researchers to view. Thus, academics mint their own NFTs, which they can later use to fund their research. In summary, the Academe Marketplace is a platform where researchers can freely share their content and be credited with NFT tokens. 

What makes Academe unique?

Academe relies on the use of NFTs, a technology that is becoming more popular and is continuing to gather more contributors. The Academe Marketplace is unique in its design specifically for the people in academia, where the competition is other open-source social media platforms like LinkedIn and Researchgate, none of which provide their users with a means of financing themselves, with a community structure for proof-reading, or with technologies to share findings in 3D. We provide all three with the NFT structure, with smart contracts on a blockchain backbone, and with our 3D rendering platform. With Academe, creators (i.e., researchers) can empower themselves by minting their data and thus benefit from their own research. 

How does Academe operate?

The dApp prompts users (i.e., researchers) to upload 3D objects and list their prices in Metis (via Ethereum transactions). Users can alternatively choose to upload 2D images (e.g., pictures of a Petri dish, where they grew bacteria) and let the dApp render a 3D object of the captures. Once this is done, other users can view all assets in the marketplace. Check our video demo of the beta version (also in our GitHub repo).

What is next for Academe?

We want to introduce Academe to our research communities to see how it operates. We want to advertise it via word of mouth on social media platforms and among our colleagues. Once the marketplace becomes populated, we intend for it to become a global decentralized resource for anyone interested in research.

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