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Research at St Andrews

BitView: using blockchain technology to validate and diffuse global usage data for academic publications

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Camilla Lamanna, Manfredi M A La Manna

School/Research organisations


We suggest that blockchain technology could be used to underpin a validated, reliable, and transparent usage metric for research outputs. Previous attempts to create online usage metrics have been unsuccessful largely because it has been difficult to co-ordinate agreement between all parties on the rules of data collection and the distribution of the workload of data synthesis and dissemination. Blockchain technology can be utilized to bypass this co-ordination problem. We propose the creation of a bibliometric blockchain (called BitView) which forms a decentralized ledger of the online usage of scholarly research outputs. By means of a worked example, we demonstrate how this blockchain could ensure that all parties adhere to the same rules of data collection, and that the workload of data synthesis is distributed equitably. Moreover, we outline how public-private key cryptography could ensure that users’ data remains private while librarians, academics, publishers, and research funders retain open access to all the data they require. It is concluded that a usage metric underpinned by blockchain technology may lead to a richer and healthier ecosystem in which publishers and academics are incentivized to widen access to their research.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaturity and Innovation in Digital Libraries
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Conference on Asian Digital Libraries (ICADL 2018)
Editors M. Dobreva, A. Hinze, M. Žumer
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9783030042578
ISBN (Print)9783030042561
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2018
EventInternational Conference on Asian-Pacific Digital Libraries: Maturity and Innovation in Digital Libraries - University of Waikato, New Zealand, Hamilton, New Zealand
Duration: 19 Nov 201822 Nov 2018

Publication series

Name Lecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISSN (Print)303004256
ISSN (Electronic)303004257


ConferenceInternational Conference on Asian-Pacific Digital Libraries
Abbreviated titleICADL 2018
CountryNew Zealand
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Bibliometrics, Blockchain, Usage factor

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