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April 16, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

Lib3 introduces a new approach to publishing research

Lib3 is Elisha Jewell's start-up business. She participated in the "What's the Big Idea" competition in March.

Elisha Jewell grew up in Deleware with two library professionals in her corner, she credits her mom and dad with giving her a passion for information. Her first job was in a library, and from that point on, she was hooked.

Elisha Jewell
Elisha Jewell

She attended LeMoyne-Owen College, a Historically Black College and University in Memphis, and was selected in her sophomore year for a fellowship at Harvard.

She spent time rotating between the different campus libraries and departments of conservation to help document and preserve various facets of historical literature, art, and music.

Jewell went on to receive a Masters in Information Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). It was the first time she recognized the inefficiency of the publishing industry. To this day, it’s a problem she’s seeking to solve.

“I wanted to incorporate blockchain systems into library systems to help with security and preservation,” she said. She continued to dive into this idea and concept and now, she’s preparing to bring that technology to market.

Jewell wants to use blockchain technology with a token-based incentive system to design and reward participants in the research ecosystem. She plans to do that through her new start-up business concept, Lib3.

What is blockchain? Blockchain technology is a decentralized and distributed ledger system that records transactions across a network of computers securely and transparently. The key to blockchain technology is decentralization.

Additionally, the information stored on a blockchain is cryptographically secured, making it tamper-proof and resistant to unauthorized changes. Once a transaction is recorded on the blockchain, it cannot be altered retroactively without altering all subsequent blocks, making it highly secure and reliable.

Jewell believes the added security will set Lib3 apart from other publishing platforms.

She met with Chris McAdoo, the Chief Experience Officer at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC), and he suggested that she should apply to the “What’s the Big Idea (WTBI)” pitch competition. Jewell was accepted, filmed a video of her discussing the concept, was selected by the community, and underwent participation in the process.

WTBI is a program that gives people with a business idea 48 hours to make it into a concrete plan, like an accelerator on steroids.

“I became a founder overnight,” she said. “They tossed me into the deep end,  took me through the mountains and the valleys, and ultimately helped me put something together that I’m proud of.”

Jewell was paired with industry professionals who took a vested interest in her technology. Gary G.S. Jackson, the Director Consulting Expert for CGI was selected as her mentor on the project. He is an expert in IP solutions, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain technologies.

“He was a great mentor for me in helping me think differently about how these technologies can be used in a way that is accessible for everyone on the platform,” she said. “I’m thankful to have him as a mentor going forward, as well.”

Here’s how Lib3 works: Researchers submit their articles to the Lib3 platform, and the article undergoes assessment by the Lib3 editorial team, articles are then distributed for peer reviews, authors receive feedback for refinement, and upon acceptance, the article is published on the platform. But, what makes Lib3 different from the top publishing companies is its incentives. Lib3 combines blockchain’s transparency with a token-based incentive system that rewards the community’s engagement in reviewing, editing, and publishing processes, linking its value directly to the platform’s success and user participation.

Jewel said this will help empower researchers nationwide and restructure an antiquated method for publishing research and academia.

She is still working through the logistics of customer discovery and MVP design. Jewell is pioneering her start-up while also working full-time as a web developer for MoxCar Marketing + Communications, where she spearheads the design, development, and maintenance of websites for 70+ companies and organizations.

She hopes Lib3 will eventually support her in a full-time role. The next step for Jewell’s company is to connect with various universities within the region and get their feedback on the platform.

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