Proof Of Peer Review (POPR) is an on-demand service that funds peer review using funds from those who submit their research to be reviewed. POPR will also accept donations. The focus of the content will be longevity research posted to preprint servers, Biorxiv, Medrxiv, and Arxiv. POPR will benefit VitaDAO in two ways: 1) VitaDAO will grow its treasury by taking in revenue from POPR. 2) VitaDAO will grow longevity knowledge because POPR is focused on longevity research.
Publishing in journals especially in the biomedical sciences has significant issues. Journals historically provided an important function in physically printing research manuscripts. However, now with the internet anyone can make their work accessible by posting it online. Researchers are now doing this at several websites that are known as “Rxiv” (pronounced “archive”) preprint servers. Biorxiv, Medrxiv, and Arxiv are examples.
The remaining major distinction between a journal and any website on the internet is that journals have peer review. Peer review is the process of scientists reviewing each other’s work to determine if the work is worthy of publishing. In most cases, scientists recommend other scientists with similar domain expertise to a journal to review their work. Scientists then often spend many hours assessing the quality of results and suggesting changes. Often, there can be several rounds of revision.
This is a system that benefits the world that scientists take pride in, with one major issue – The journals do not pay scientists for any of this work. Rather, the journals charge large and growing fees (many $thousands) to scientists for the privilege of publishing in their journals. The journals have little costs because scientists do most of the work for free. This results in journals having massive profit margins. Some estimates have journals outdoing the profit margins even of some of the most successful companies on earth such as Apple.
To recap, scientists pay journals from their increasingly inadequate non-profit funding budgets to have other scientists do free labor reviewing for the journal. It is widely acknowledged by many that this is an unacceptable exploitative system that needs to change.
An on-demand peer review service where reviews are paid by those who submit their research as well as by donations. The business model involves taking in funds that will cover what is paid out. To grow VitaDAO’s treasury, ideally the funds taken in would be in fiat and those paid out would be in $VITA. VitaDAO also benefits in that POPR is focused on longevity research.
As the name implies, a major goal of POPR is to enable researchers to have proof of their peer reviews such that they don’t need to rely on journals for this proof.
- Reviewers should have the option of being compensated for their efforts.
- Researchers will obtain peer reviews of their work in a timely and fair fashion.
- The general public won’t have to wait (often for years) for research to be published in a journal to know whether it’s credible.
- Journals will profit less from the free labor of researchers.
- POPR will not interfere with the status quo. It is an opt-in mechanism for researchers to get extra eyes on their work.
- POPR will have a simple web interface with a familiar UX. No new skills will be needed. Web3 aspects will be abstracted away, which is important because most biomedical scientists won’t be familiar with Web3.
There are two types of submissions. Those that will be auto-submitted and those that will be manually submitted by researchers. POPR will be regularly auto-updated with the longevity research from Biorxiv, Medrxiv, and Arxiv. Researchers will also be able to pay to directly post their work. Thus, POPR has two tiers, free and paid. Reviewers are incentivized to review the freely posted Rxiv submissions because they will receive a portion of the overall donations. Reviewers are more incentivized to review the paid submissions because they will get a portion of the overall donations plus a portion of the overall paid submissions.
Paid submissions will be handled as a subscription model like how software as a service (SAAS) often operates. Potential pricing tiers were determined based on polling. This polling showed $250/manuscript would be acceptable to ~50% of those polled. ~50% of people wouldn’t pay thus, the free tier accommodates them. The subscription model is tentatively $249/year per manuscript with lower per manuscript amounts the more manuscripts one submits. One also pays less if they pay yearly vs. monthly. To us, it appears more beneficial to manuscript submitters to allow reviews to accumulate over time rather than to restrict a manuscript to a certain number of reviews. Said another way, a time-based subscription payment model rather than a pay-per-review model seems better for researchers. A subscription model also seems better as a business model for POPR/VitaDAO because it has lower friction. With subscriptions one only pays one time whereas with pay-per-review one would have to decide to pay each time they want another round of reviews.
Pay-in: Fiat. Most researchers who will pay for this service will not be Web3 natives. Thus, to achieve adoption it will be critical to facilitate fiat on-ramp. Donors will be more likely Web3 native, so BTC, ETH, and USDC are the initial coins that will be accepted. A range of fiat options (especially credit cards), provided by the well-known payment provider, Stripe, will be used for both paid submissions and donations.
Pay-out: VITA tokens. The specific amounts will be TBD depending on market conditions and what will make business sense to VitaDAO.
The Web3 aspect of this project will grow over time. Besides receiving donations in BTC, ETH, or USDC and paying out in VITA, one can imagine formalizing the “proof of peer review” concept by making the reviews and voting on-chain. One can also imagine more tokens besides VITA to be used for payouts. For example, LabDAO’s $LAB token could be used. In that case, the content that could be submitted would have to be expanded beyond longevity.
Team: Tim Peterson, Rhys Anderson
- Agree with revision