PEER: Open Access Publication Platform for Student Dissertations
Ali Sunyaev, Benjamin Sturm
Information on the upcoming PEER Development Workshop will be published here soon.
Project Information: The open dissertations library – PEER – will provide an innovative open access platform for publishing excellent student dissertations, like Bachelor, Master, and Diploma theses. Typically, after a thesis has been handed in and graded, it simply disappears into a non-public university archive or desk drawer, never to be seen again. However, many of these theses are being carried out with great thoroughness and produce results of high practical and scientific value for other students, researchers, and practitioners. Following the open knowledge idea, which is to allow anyone to freely access, use, modify, and share knowledge, PEER will make the publication of excellent student theses much easier for students and universities as well as provide an open and highly visible platform revealing the real worth of Bachelor, Master, and Diploma theses.
PEER will utilize the innovative potential of distributed ledger technology to archive the system’s three primary design goals: ease-of-use, openness, and content excellence. The only centralized component of the system will be a web platform providing a user-friendly submission process and easy access to the dissertation library. Submission will be initiated by the theses’ authors via a simple web form. During the following process, the system will request approval by the examiners that graded the respective thesis, to ensure the work’s excellence and methodological rigor. Once the examiner cryptographically vouched for a thesis’s quality, it is immediately published in the freely accessible dissertation library. The entire submission process will be transparently documented and safe-guarded by the bloxberg blockchain. The bloxberg blockchain is a secure global infrastructure established by a consortium of leading research organizations to provide scientists with decentralized services worldwide (e.g., ETH Zürich, Max Planck Society, Georgia Tech, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). The bloxberg is the first globally maintained decentralized network for scientists that is protected against the cryptographic power of third entities. By building on the bloxberg blockchain, PEER ensures transparency, robustness, and reliability of its submission process as well as immutability and integrity of the submitted theses. In order to create a truly open publication platform, PEER will store the theses and accompanying research data (e.g., interview transcripts, statistical data, program code) using a public decentralized storage solution – the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). IPFS is autonomous peer-to-peer network for storing and sharing data. As opposed to a centrally located server, IPFS is built around a decentralized system of user-operated storage nodes which hold a portion of the overall data, creating a resilient and open system of file storage and sharing. In combination with the simplified submission process and its immutable, transparent documentation on the bloxberg blockchain, PEER will be the first truly open publication platform for dissertations that provides unrestricted access, reliability, and high visibility.
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