In Proceedings of the 17th Annual International ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL), pages 1–4, Toronto, Canada, June, 2017. Venue Rating: CORE A*Paper doi abstract bibtex
Manuscript submission systems are a central fixture in scholarly publishing. However, with existing systems, researchers must trust that their yet unpublished findings will not prematurely be disseminated due to technical weaknesses and that anonymous peer reviewers or committee members will not plagiarize unpublished content. To address this limitation, we present CryptSubmit - a system that automatically creates a decentralized, tamperproof, and publicly verifiable timestamp for each submitted manuscript by utilizing the blockchain of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The publicly accessible and tamperproof infrastructure of the blockchain allows researchers to independently verify the validity of the timestamp associated with their manuscript at the time of submission to a conference or journal. Our system supports researchers in protecting their intellectual property even in the face of vulnerable submission platforms or dishonest peer reviewers. Optionally, the system also generates trusted timestamps for the feedback shared by peer reviewers to increase the traceability of ideas. CryptSubmit integrates these features into the open source conference management system OJS. In the future, the method could be integrated at nearly no overhead cost into other manuscript submission systems, such as EasyChair, ConfTool, or Ambra. The introduced method can also improve electronic pre-print services and storage systems for research data.