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Blockchain For Scientists Takes On Elsevier, The Business The Internet Couldn't Kill Posted on Jun 13 - 2018

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It was 1995, the year that Craigslist, eBay and Expedia were born.

The age of the internet had arrived, and we at Forbes magazine, all too aware of academics’ complaints about cashing out for research, made a prediction: Elsevier, the largest publisher of scientific journals, would be its “first victim.”

Yet recent years have seen Elsevier profits swell to more than £900 million closing in on a 40% profit margin. It seems to be—as the Financial Times claimed in 2015—“the business the internet could not kill.”

This hasn’t stopped resentment from brewing as journal prices continue to rise above inflation.

In the U.K. universities paid an average of nearly £4 million ($5.4 million) for journal subscriptions last year, with the majority of this budget going to five academic publishing companies: Elsevier, Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, Taylor & Francis and Sage.

At the close of 2017, a group of 200 German Universities even stood together against Elsevier, sparking further unrest in Sweden alongside renewed outrage from European academia.

Blockchain to the rescue

Could blockchain be what brings science’s untouchable publishing giants down? Norway’s Anita Schjøll Brede, cofounder and CEO at Iris.AI—one of Europe’s hottest artificial intelligence companies—hopes so. She said as much speaking at the CogX AI festival yesterday, part of London Tech Week.

The entrepreneur experienced firsthand the frustrations of opaque academia while at the helm of her previous energy startup Pinexo. “It took us nine months to find the right researcher who was just three blocks down the road,” she tells Forbes.

This is why she started Iris.AI in 2015, a semi-automated scientific review tool that’s today used by everyone from Denmark’s Leo Pharma to the University of Helsinki (this uses artificial intelligence to help scientists tackle “information overload” by pulling together precise reading lists for them). View More


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