Sports Research is Broken. Can we fix it with NFTs?

We’ve published what we believe to be the first sports research NFT. Here’s why we did it.

Knowledge takes way too long to get in the hands of knowledge users

In summer 2020, we scraped publicly available NBA data to make a schedule-density analysis demonstrating how much insight was “hiding in plain sight” for teams to optimize for player health and ultimately win more games. Unfortunately, as of Thanksgiving 2021, that knowledge had yet to be transmitted to those who could make use of it. Why? Beaurocratic academia. Months between revision responses, outrageous requests which boil down to the editors simply not understanding (nor taking the time to try) our methods, and rejecting manuscripts without explanation, wasting months of hard work via curt emails. By the time something gets published, it’s already behind the cutting-edge.

The creators aren’t even getting paid for it

Many academic journals charge prohibitive amounts of money to citizen scientists while maintaining what amounts to little more than money-laundering schemes with universities. Meanwhile, the knowledge creators remain unpaid for their hard work. The middlemen aren’t evil people, but the barriers to knowledge transmission shouldn’t be the (only) ones getting paid! It is a broken system with a dynamic unlikely to facilitate progress in any meaningful way. 

We want to make this more accessible. Can you help?

All of the above contribute to the common remark that research will forever be a decade behind the practice. That seems like a problem worth tackling. As part of our larger mission to modernize the way that teams make use of all their athlete data to win more games, we had the idea to turn our research into an NFT. We don’t expect it to sell the way that cartoon apes do—in fact, we insist on this first one being free—but it’s a step in the right direction. Cutting-edge research, bespoke data models, and all manner of digital assets can and should be open source and instantaneously available for consumption. Let folks tweet or directly email us with revisions, remarks, and requests which improve the content, rather than restrict that to the academic ivory towers. We feel that this new kind of decentralized, Web3 technology is the way forward so long as scientific rigor can be maintained. It’s time to modernize the system according to current digital possibilities. There are plenty of domain experts out there, and we’re figuring it out as we go–who wants to help?

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