Definitions • Concepts • Review

What is a DeSci Node?

A Node is an interoperable research object stored on an open state repository.

Nodes have permanent identifiers that protect against link rot and content drift, and are compute-enabled. You can conveniently import data into your workflow. In the future, it will also be possible to send programs over to the data.

Nodes are a next-generation open-science solution that enables you to immediately publish every relevant aspect of your research project in one convenient place, share it with others, get credit and citations for it and interact with Node content directly (e.g. computation, citations as function calls).

Nodes make it easy for researchers to establish and follow best scientific practices. Nodes are FAIR-enabling by design, helping you to make every relevant part of your research findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. This unleashes the full utility of your work to others and raises the bar by making it easier for your future self and others to trace your steps and to check the reproducibility of your work.

Nodes also help you to communicate your research in novel ways. For example, you can embed code and data into your figures to allow others to reproduce your results easily and to re-use your artifacts.

Nodes are capable of storing massive amounts of scientific data, making it globally accessible, and allowing you and others to perform compute functions on those data, directly where the data lives. Instead of having to rely on your own or your institutions computational facilities, Nodes enable you to conduct analyses and reproducibility runs without the need to download data or to move it around (data egress/ingress) – a feature that gets increasingly important with data size, and also offers environmental benefits. For small data objects, Nodes also enable “citations as function calls”, enabling you to pull data or code from any Node into your local environment easily and at a high level of granularity (e.g. pull a specific code file or a specific dataset file).

Nodes secures your data against content drift with cryptographically-secured identifiers, and provides protection against link rot by storing multiple redundant copies across a distributed network of storage and compute providers, all while enabling granular version control.

By using Nodes, you help to contribute to a digital future of the scientific record that will be open and accessible to all humans and machines. Most people have only very limited access to the scientific record at the moment, although science is an essential public good that is largely financed by tax-payer money. By removing content paywalls and adding machine-readable actionable resolution, Nodes will enable machines to “make sense” of science in new ways, enabling AIs to navigate and make sense of the scientific record

What is a research object?

A research object is a digital collection of information about a research project “under one roof”.

This could be different versions of the manuscript, supplementary information, data, videos, computational pipelines, images, interviews, or any other type of data that researchers find useful and that they want to store and work with.

Traditional publications of manuscripts are static. In contrast, a research object is dynamic and evolves over time, allowing users to add and to update content. It also allows viewers to access all of that content and to browse through its history.

The research object framework provides a mechanism to associate related resources about a scientific investigation so that they can be shared using a single identifier. As such, research objects are an advanced form of enhanced scientific publication.

What is an Open State repository?

An open state repository is a novel type of repository that relies on distributed, content-addressed, machine-actionable storage and indexing systems.

It is “open state” because access to the information it contains cannot be revoked by any central entity. The Open State repository's architecture has been designed as a response to the call to action set forth by Leiden declaration, of which DeSci Labs is a signatory. Learn how it works.

Are Nodes peer-reviewed?

Nodes may or may not contain peer-reviewed content.

It is the Node creator’s responsibility to indicate the peer-reviewed status of any manuscripts contained within a Node via inclusion of the publisher’s DOI.

Readers should be aware that Nodes may contain unfinished or preliminary work, contain errors or misleading claims, or contain information that has not yet been accepted or endorsed in any way by the scientific community. We urge journalists and other individuals who report on research to the general public to consider this when discussing work that appears on Nodes.

Nodes currently do not have systematic content moderation, content selection, or “peer review” processes in place yet. The responsibility for the shared content lies entirely with the authors. Please see our Terms of Service for additional information.

To provide additional context: Before formal publication in a scholarly journal, scientific articles are traditionally certified by “peer review.” In this process, the journal’s editors take advice from various experts—called “referees”—who have assessed the paper and may identify weaknesses in its assumptions, methods, and conclusions. Typically, a journal will only publish an article once the editors are satisfied that the authors have addressed referees’ concerns and that the data presented support the conclusions drawn in the paper.

Because this process can be lengthy, authors often make their manuscripts available as “preprints” before certification by peer review, allowing other scientists to see, discuss, and comment on the findings immediately. We encourage scientists to use Nodes for this purpose.

Furthermore, traditional academic journals typically do not have the infrastructure to store, evaluate, and share anything else than a manuscript. As a result, important parts of the scientific process such as data, images, videos, voice recording, or code are typically not evaluated during peer-review. Worse, these integral parts of the scientific record are often not accessible at all. Nodes provide a convenient solution to this problem. By doing so, Nodes provide additional information and resources that enhance and complement the existing scientific journal system. For example, authors can post their “pre-print” on Nodes and archive their data and code in the process. Once their manuscript is submitted to a journal, editors and referees can access the additional information available in a Node to guide their feedback to authors during the peer-review process, creating additional transparency and increasing the odds that authors will get their work accepted in the scientific journal of their choice.

The dynamic nature of research objects also implies that they serve a different function than traditional journal publications: Research objects can grow and evolve over time, providing a track record of the entire research project from the first ideas, intermediary products such as data, code, preliminary drafts of the main manuscript, a version of the manuscript that is equivalent in content to the published version, as well as updates and additions that occur after the main manuscript has been published. In this sense, Nodes also serves as a Green Open Access solution for authors to deposit their peer-reviewed work.

Are submissions reviewed before posting?

No. Nodes are, however, randomly reviewed for violations of our Terms of Service.

Posting copy-right protected, privacy violating, fraudulent, harmful, obscene, or non-scientific content is prohibited. DeSci Labs maintains the right to filter out inappropriate content that is in violation of our Terms of Service. Filtering will delete content from DeSci Labs’ servers and affect the findability of inappropriate content. Please see our Terms of Service for additional information.

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