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Survey on Blockchain Technology Applicability Report to Universities and Research Institutes

Survey focusing on the subjects of academic degrees, courses and career certifications and research data

April 23, 2019

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) compiled a report on a survey conducted as part of the FY2018 Industrial Technology Survey Program (Research for the Applicability of Blockchain Technologies to Universities and Research Institutes to Promote Mobility of Domestic and Overseas Human Resources and Secure Reliability of Research Results as well as Research for Creating Standards Therefor).

1. Background to and purpose of the survey

Backed by a surging of cross-border mobility of people, a growing number of students possess a variety of academic degrees, courses and career certifications that they have obtained while overseas. In addition, universities and research institutes worldwide are facing issues involving research fraud committed by their researchers. Amid the situation where international society has raised concerns over the trustworthiness of academic degrees and research data that researchers have declared, blockchain technology is attracting attention for its technological characteristics of decentrally sharing data in parallel with securing transparency and tamper resistance.

The survey focused on two subjects: [i] academic degrees, courses and career certifications and [ii] securing reliability of research data, and was conducted to uncover applicability of blockchain technology to these subjects through holding discussions in seminars and an open-style hackathon.

2. Key points of the report

Blockchain technology, a technology still evolving, is considered to be applicable in a variety of areas depending on the requirements. As for the subject of academic degrees, courses and career certifications, such technology can be applied in a case where parties involved need to verify a certificate that has been issued by any issuer that no longer exists, while as for the subject of research data, it can be applied in a case where parties involved need to examine the applicability of research data to some research processes, including analysis processes.

Placing eyes on some new cases overseas to which blockchain technology has been applied and based on the challenges uncovered in the survey, METI believes that it should continue to provide opportunities, e.g., hackathons, for industries to conduct demonstration tests like this survey and to make efforts for developing environments that contribute to standardization of blockchain technology.

Reference

Division in Charge

Industry-University Collaboration Office, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau, METI