Scientific progress often occurs slowly, but it is necessary for advanced technologies and improvements in human lives. We were inspired by the knowledge that there are several well-publicized issues with the current peer review system in academia. We recognized that blockchains and decentralized applications (DApps) are an emerging technology that could solve these problems, thereby removing unnecessary barriers in the progression of human knowledge.

What it does

Our decentralized web application allows scientists from around the world to view, upload, and peer review scientific publications. As a DApp, it can address many of the growing concerns of the scientific community and public by:

  1. Ensuring trust and transparency
  2. Incentivizing & speeding up the review process
  3. Reducing costs for publishing
  4. Disseminating scientific knowledge

How we built it

Solidity, Truffle, IPFS, Javascript, HTML, CSS, jQuery, and Bootstrap.

Challenges we ran into

It was our first time building a DApp. Many of the challenges revolved around consistently maintaining the test environment, and making the smart contracts and token communicate with each other properly.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are very proud of all that we accomplished in such a short period of time. In particular, we are proud of three aspects of our application: the option to view all uploaded manuscripts on the blockchain, decentralizing the hosting of the website, and the revision feature and its ability to pay reviewers in redeemable tokens.

What we learned

We learned a tremendous amount about decentralized applications, blockchain technology, and the Solidity programming language.

What's next for PaperTrail

We would like to incorporate some additional functionality into the app. Several tools, such as: a parser to extract key document sections, ranking for community impact, and filtering when viewing manuscripts, all fit with our broader vision for the application.

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