One liner: we propose development of the web3 version of TLDR (the decentralized longevity review) to support:
1. content hosting on a production-grade database
2. web3 login for payment and identity management
3. upvotes, downvotes, and reputation accrual for authors and reviewers.
Previously we developed a web2 version of TLDR - (VDP-53) to enable paid peer reviews of longevity research. There were no costs associated with this as it was developed by Tim Peterson, who coded up the website as a side project paid for by his general role at VitaDAO. The web2 version was useful to demonstrate the functionality and as a marketing tool.
However, a web3 version is needed to realize the vision of the project. This project aims to enable researchers to have a better way to build their reputation. We believe this will be facilitated by web3 because of the superior incentive alignment mechanisms that web3 can offer. At a fundamental level, researchers’ reputation is currently tied to their email addresses. Take for example, one having a Harvard email address. If you don’t know the person you can almost immediately know the person performs credible research because of their email address (obvious caveats, but you get the idea). In the web3 world, one’s wallet address should signify that the researcher is important. Individuals’ reputation can be a collection of their activities at several organizations but importantly it is the individual to whom the value of their research output accrues. Not their organizations.
In terms of implementation, a key goal of this project is to initiate people into logging in with their wallet to replace email login. This will enable creators, in this case peer reviewers, to capture the value they create. Whereas in web2, the value is captured by the platform. One can’t accrue value to one’s email.
The Longevity Decentralized Review (TLDR) is an on-demand peer review service. The current prototype is live at https://longevity.review. It addresses 5 critical issues with academic journals:
- Researchers need to obtain peer reviews of their work in a timely and fair fashion.
- Researchers should get feedback on their research prior to entering the journal publication cycle.
- Reviewers should have the option of compensation for their efforts, especially if they make high quality contributions to the work (as viewed by the research community).
- The general public should be able to identify credible research without waiting the often yearslong (yes, plural years) review + publication cycle required by most journals.
- Journals should not profit off the free labor of researchers, nor paywall credible research content from the public.
It is important to note that TLDR does not interfere with the status quo. It is an opt-in mechanism for researchers to get quality feedback on their work and could function as a pre-journal submission screening mechanism.
The research community has tried to remedy these issues mainly with (1) preprint servers and (2) social media promotion.
Preprint servers host unpublished research for consumption by researchers and the general public. These include BioRxiv, MedRxiv, and Arxiv. They solve the problem of distribution, though they fail to identify credible research and fail to provide researchers with feedback on their work. To reduce this problem, many researchers have made profiles on popular social media sites such as twitter and reddit, and use these profiles to promote their work or work they view as credible. The social mechanisms built into this site—namely likes/upvotes, retweets, comments, and follower/following lists—then provide the public with some basis for identifying credible research.
However, these communities are often unfocused and non-uniform. Thus, while social media promotion helps with content discovery, it very rarely provides researchers with high-quality reviews and does not address the problem of reviewer compensation whatsoever.
TLDR provides funding for researchers to review each other’s work.
Articles from websites known as “Rxiv” (pronounced “archive”) preprint servers, BioRxiv, MedRxiv, and Arxiv are auto-posted daily to the homepage. These “Rxiv” websites enable anyone to submit their research in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, medicine) disciplines for free. Once users register with email, they can upvote content and write a review by typing in a comment box. Users can search for content or browse the “all” page to find content to review. Authors can make a donation to TLDR to mark their post as “paid,” which incentivises reviewers to prioritize their work.
On TLDR, the incentive for peer reviewing these freely posted manuscripts is to receive a share of the donations given to TLDR. Additionally, VitaDAO is supplementing the reviewer payments with its $VITA tokens. The initial focus is on longevity related research, but in the future the scope could be expanded to other research areas.
As of now, TLDR is a product-research prototype that doesn’t support payments nor web3 login. It also doesn’t reorder content based on upvotes received. We propose implementing these features to upgrade TLDR into a real product.
We propose to build the following infrastructure needed to upgrade TLDR to a fully-functioning product:
- Web3 login for authors and reviewers.
- A server which will store and host (1) posts in the form of links to preprint papers, (2) reviews on those posts, (3) upvotes/downvotes on both posts and reviews.
- Payments in $VITA (and possibly USDC) by authors and to reviewers.
Replacing the email login with an Ethereum wallet is a substantial novelty which aligns with VitaDAO’s mission. A connected address natively supports ERC20 transfers, allowing TLDR to compensate researchers with VITA tokens. This serves the dual purpose of (1) compensating reviewers and (2) distributing governance power to knowledgeable contributors with a record of providing high-quality feedback.
A full-fledged site would require a server to store and host reviews associated with papers added to the platform. These posts and reviews can also be uploaded to IPFS, but we believe a traditional database is better suited to task in its current state, since traditional databases offer flexibility and ease of development currently unmatched by IPFS. Of course, additional work can be done to backup any platform content on IPFS if VitaDAO deems this important.
Up and downvotes must also be stored and rendered, since this is what will eventually determine post ordering, will grow reviewer reputation and determine reviewer payouts. This iteration of TLDR distributes VITA to reviewers manually at the discretion of admins (precise criteria/algorithm to be determined in future, we will merely provide a simple tool to assist), so we feel that storing up and downvotes on-chain is unhelpful at this point in time. Doing so would require a smart contract—therefore an audit—so to keep costs down we have left this out of the proposal. As with posts, future work can be done to automatically upload up/downvotes on IPFS.
In the Additional Possibilities section, we outline additional work directions that have been left out of this proposal. This proposal is deliberately left simple in order to facilitate iterative development and reduce upfront costs to the VitaDAO treasury.
We believe an MVP can be constructed within 2 months of starting work.
The sources of cost for this work are (1) compensation for contributors, (2) server costs, (3) professional advice on design and implementation. The bulk of development will be conducted by Petros Sideris, Jan Ole Ernst and Kyle Duffy, though we will be seeking the advice of Stefan Adolph and Tim Peterson for their respective engineering and product expertise. Over the 2 month timeline, we expect to pay at most $1000/mo for advice and contributions from Stefan, as well as at most $9000/mo for the remainder of expenses, which includes wages/rewards for 2 developers, and server costs.
We would like to share risk with VitaDAO by accepting a portion of compensation in VITA tokens. Accordingly, we propose a budget of 10,000 USDC and 5000 VITA per month, making the total maximal cost $20000 and 10000 VITA.
The team would be available to develop additional features with additional funding if VitaDAO believes they are important. Specifically, we have considered the following additional features:
- Mirror database (including posts and up/downvotes) to IPFS with a possibility of streamlining up/downvoting with snapshot.
- Sybil resistance mechanisms, in the form of (1) staking or (2) linking web2 credentials or other unique identifiers to an Ethereum address (such as your ORCID ID) (details can be provided if requested in the comments, ZK proofs are also an option)
- Reputation storage on-chain (requires audit)
- Implement specific reviewer payout tooling
- Automated payment dispersal to reviewers (based on a smart contract) (requires audit)
Petros Sideris. Experienced Software Engineer and CTO with background in Finance. Has co-founded a Web3 startup which delivered successfully two products.
Kyle Duffy (@kyleduffy) - Kyle did a Master’s degree in CS at Oxford and has spent the past year building in the web3 space. With Jan he competed at the ETHAmsterdam ETHGlobal hackathon and won with Retrox. He pivoted Retrox to DeSci and continued to develop it under a grant from the Ethereum foundation, releasing a product to bring ORCID credentials on-chain. Besides work in web3, Kyle has a history building production-grade software for hedge funds and trading firms. He spent time at Millennium Management ($58bn AUM) and Belvedere Trading where he built trade simulators and conducted quantitative research.
Jan Ole Ernst (@j-o-e) - Physics PhD student with a background in physics & philosophy and web3 enthusiast. Jan’s dedicated to improving research infrastructure and interned as a blockchain developer for SAP in 2019. He’s done a variety of hackathons and notably won the EthGlobal hackathon in 2022 with Kyle for building an on-chain retroactive public goods funding platform (Retrox) as well as some further DeSci infra. He also teamed up with Stefan at the DeSci London Hackathon in 2023 to build a privacy preserving web3 peer reviewing tool.
Tim Peterson (@timrpeterson) - Tim is a Longevity and Dealflow Steward at VitaDAO and CEO of BIOIO. He has over a decade of experience in both industrial and academic biological research. With over 11k citations, Tim has established himself as an expert on longevity research and is well-equipped to steer a product towards the needs of the longevity research community.
Stefan Adolf - Senior Web3 Developer at Molecule. Building IP capturing NFTs & their fractionalized counterparts. Dealing with metatx, cross chain messaging, DAO tooling and implementing great UX for our frontends. He has a fullstack developer background.
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