Blockchain, challenges and opportunities

Blockchain, illustration.Can the blockchain become the breakthrough innovation of 2016 just like the Internet of Things in 2015? Is it just a buzzword or can it actually make a difference to our lifestyle?

So, what is a blockchain? And what is it for?

Here, you can find some reliable information on this subject. Some of these resources are available to only the HEC community but most are available to everybody.

Enjoy reading🙂


What is Blockchain ?

  • La Blockchain, qu’est-ce que c’est ?
    BNP Parisbas. Vidéo, 2 mn, 2016

Le blockchain, une révolution ou une évolution ? En quelques minutes, découvrez cette technologie dont tout le monde parle.


Blockchain France est une start-up qui accompagne les organisations dans la découverte, l’exploration et le déploiement des technologies blockchain.

Blockchains are a new data structure that is secure, cryptography-based, and distributed across a network. The technology supports cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and the transfer of any data or digital asset. Spearheaded by Bitcoin, blockchains achieve consensus among distributed nodes, allowing the transfer of digital goods without the need for centralized authorisation of transactions. The present blockchain ecosystem is like the early Internet, a permissionless innovation environment in which email, the World Wide Web, Napster, Skype, and Uber were built.

édité par l’Observatoire Netexplo, Blockchain France. 141 p. 2016. HEC community only, Full-Text here.

Dans le monde numérique, et au-delà, la blockchain s’est imposée comme le grand sujet de l’année 2016. Pourtant, tout comme le phénomène d’uberisation avait cannibalisé l’année 2015 en étant employé parfois de façon excessive, la blockchain court aujourd’hui le danger de devenir un simple buzzword, brandi comme symbole d’une “disruption ultime”, sans être pourtant véritablement compris par ceux qui en parlent.

Netexplo est un observatoire indépendant qui étudie l’impact du digital sur la société et les entreprises. Cette étude référence les différents usages de la blockchain et interview les principaux acteurs français.



Key players

Portraits of visionary technologists and business leaders who are making some of the most transformative tools and applications in the blockchain space.

Blockchains could have widespread potential to disrupt financial intermediaries. Our in-depth study suggests several misconceptions & identifies 10 hurdles to overcome to make blockchain a reality in banking.

Article by Daniel Roberts. Yahoo finance. March 2, 2016.

As big banks and other financial institutions continue to feel the love for blockchain technology, many of us have wondered how they can get in. Can a private, non-institutional investor somehow invest in the blockchain?

Article by Ian Kar. Quartz. April 19, 2016.

Fintech startups used to be focused on making traditional banks obsolete. Now, it seems like they just want to sell them services.




Study by Martha Bennett. Forrester, 2015. 11 p. HEC community only.

What’s not to like about a technology that promises lower-cost banking and payments; a better way to record and prove asset ownership; immediate, fraud-free election results; irrefutable authenticity verification; and connected devices using smart contracts to liaise? These — and more — promises are made for blockchain, the technology best known as the basis for Bitcoin. But how realistic are those claims? How close are they to becoming reality? This report guides CIOs on how to assess the potential of blockchain technology and what actions to take today.

  • Révolution blockchain : la désintermédiation en marche !

Article paru dans Business Digest, juin 2016. 3 p. HEC community only. Full-Text here

Bien au-delà du monde de la finance, l’essor de la technologie blockchain, née avec le bitcoin en 2009, pourrait transformer l’économie en accélérant la désintermédiation de nombreux secteurs d’activité. Un nouvel espoir pour tous les déçus d’Internet, restés attachés à sa philosophie première : mieux distribuer le pouvoir.

Blog de Joi Ito. February 22, 2016

Joichi “Joi” Ito is a Japanese activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, Professor, and Director of the MIT Media Lab.

Ito has received recognition for his role as an entrepreneur focused on Internet and technology companies and has founded, among other companies, PSINet Japan, Digital Garage and Infoseek Japan. He maintains a blog, a wiki and an IRC channel. Ito is the chairman of the board of PureTech Health. 

Article de Alexandre Azoulay, Président de SGH Capital et d’ORIGIN Investing. Les Echos. July 7, 2016

Encore jeune, le secteur du crowdlending ne représente pas encore un concurrent sérieux pour le monde bancaire. Même si, à T3 2015, le cumul total des fonds levés atteignait 46 millions d’euros en France, le crowdlending ne pèse que 0,8 % sur le marché total des prêts bancaires aux entreprises. Reste qu’avec l’arrivée de technologies comme la Blockchain, les lignes devraient bouger dans les 10 prochaines années.


You can learn more about the subject by reading the book “Blockchain Revolution : How the technology behind Bitcoin is changing money, business, and the world”, available in the library. (reference number 5-4721 TAP)

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HEC Paris library renovation starts on May 30

HEC library is in need of an update and as from May 30th, workers will begin the process of bringing a more modern and efficient interior space to the library. During that period, a temporary library will be open in I Building.

The library facelift aims to transform the spaces to create new collaborative facilities for students and faculty. The academic commons will continue to have different forms of print but patrons will also have access to more study rooms and meeting spaces. We won’t eliminate spots for quiet, individual study, but the renovated spaces will include more opportunities for working on group projects.

We’ll have new layout of books, walls and doorways will be removed or added to create new rooms, all public areas of the library will be painted, a new carpet installed and the lighting system will be retrofitted with energy-efficient fixtures. The desk will have a new look and feel and will be the single point for user interaction. Besides, a new “Lounge” area across the desk will host magazines, newspapers, video collections as well as tablets and iPads.

Most of the spaces will be flexible for learning and teaching spaces. They will be equipped with technological features (monitors, videoconference equipments…) and furniture that supports and reflects different learning and teaching styles, as well as blended learning and self-learning.

The plan is to renovate the entire interior of the library and the new layout will make the library much more accessible with brand new furniture, great fabrics and colors. We believe students will be very impressed upon seeing the results of the renovation. It will give the library a modern and fresh look and hopefully, patrons will want to go in, study, read and do projects.

During the works period, a Temporary Library will be open in Building I (see map below), where librarians will provide research assistance, textbooks loan and access to financial databases.

Capture d’écran 2016-05-21 à 11.32.30From 6th June to 29th July and from 16th August to 19th September:

Temporary Library in Building I, open from 9am to 6pm.

To get some assistance outside of these hours, you can email us: or chat on our website:

Books will be to return to Building I. Access to books will be limited there, so try to pick up what you need by 28th May!

Horizon 2020 and Open Access

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020).
Here is a three minute animation clip which will give you a general overview of the programme specifics:

Open access to scientific peer reviewed publications has been anchored as an underlying principle in the Horizon 2020 and is explained in the Regulation and the Rules of Participation as well as through the relevant provisions in the grant agreement (see Horizon 2020 Annotated Model Grant Agreement, October 2015 with information about open access on the pages 216-219).

A new element in Horizon 2020 is the use of Data Management Plans (DMPs) detailing what data the project will generate, whether and how it will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved. The use of a Data Management Plan is required for projects participating in the Open Research Data Pilot.

Ask the library to know more about the Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020 and the Guidelines on Data Management in Horizon 2020.

Why you should manage your research data

JISC is publishing a new guide: “How and why you should manage your research data: a guide for researchers.An introduction to engaging with research data management processes.”
JISC is the UK higher, further education and skills sectors’ not-for-profit organisation for digital services and solutions.
This guide provides an introduction to engaging with research data management processes and is dedicated to researchers and research data management support staff.

As for JISC, most of the activities involved are: naming files so you can find them quickly; keeping track of different versions, and deleting those not needed; backing up valuable data and controlling who has access to your data.

Research data life

Apart from this very interesting and useful guide, JISC recommends the following training programmes available online, mostly originating from Jisc funding:

  • Mantra – a free online course designed for researchers or others who manage digital data as part of a research project
  • TraD – includes a blended learning course for those in (or expecting to be in) research data management support roles
  • RDMRose – an open educational resource for information professionals on research data management

How do scholars share articles?

Sharing of scholarly articles is widespread and increasing. The Beyond Downloads project (Elsevier) looks at scholars’ sharing behavior and what download counts are missing to better measure the reach —and impact — of a library’s resources.
This is an example of the answer to the question:
Find out more responses from 1,000 faculty members, researchers and PhD/master’s students.

New feature on SSRN

scientistSSRN is releasing author photo and CV on Author Pages
As an author, you can now upload a photo or CV to your page by either:
– clicking Edit my Personal Information on your SSRN Author Page (if you are signed in or have a cookie stored on your computer) and scrolling to the bottom of the page
– signing in to, clicking the Personal Info link on the left menu and scrolling to the bottom of the page.
This feature could make it easier for our authors to connect, communicate and collaborate.
The library will be happy to help you on this feature and all other issues regarding SSRN: submitting, copyright, ranking…
Access the HEC Paper Research Series on SSRN

Forrester Playbooks provide integrated reports

ForresterForrester’s Playbook framework organizes Forrester research content and services with a lifecycle approach.

Each Playbook comprises an Executive Overview and 12 reports with integrated tools and templates. In addition to the core research, the Playbook experience can be customized with global data, peer communities, and analyst engagements:

  • Data-driven insights into changing behaviors
  • Collaboration with peers at other companies who are facing or have faced similar challenges.
  • Time with analysts through structured workshops, one-on-one advisory sessions, or deeper consulting support.

See here the list of available Playbooks

How does a playbook work? (video)


Example of a Playbook


Here is useful information on how to get access to Forrester (Library website)

Press and blog review

ReviewHere are press articles and blog posts you might be interested to read:

Elsevier stopped me doing my research
on Chris H.J. Hartgerink’s Notebook, November 16, 2015.
Chris H.J. Hartgerink presents himself as “a statistician interested in detecting potentially problematic research such as data fabrication, which results in unreliable findings and can harm policy-making, confound funding decisions, and hampers research progress.”

He explains that he has downloaded 30,000 items from the Psychology Elsevier ScienceDirect database to conduct searches on text mining but “Elsevier notified my university that this was a violation of the access contract, that this could be considered stealing of content.”
We recommend you read the comments at the end of the post, which deal with the Elsevier API vs the “normal web service” and which were posted by Elsevier representatives and other researchers.

Standing on the shoulders of the Google giant: Sustainable discovery and Google Scholar’s comprehensive coverage.
On LSE Impact Blog, November 19, 2015
Max Kemman,  PhD Candidate at the University of Luxembourg, looks at why Google Scholar is virtually unrivaled. The scholarly community might ask whether it is entirely desirable that Google plays such an important role in the scholarly workflow. Not only does Google Scholar have a known effect on discovery and citation of articles, it could well be shaping academic writing and evaluation.

New research features on!
On Mendeley Blog, November 3, 2015
Mendeley launches a tailored set of recommendations for each user who has a minimum threshold of documents in their library.

“On the new “Suggest” page you’ll be getting improved article suggestions, driven by four different recommendation algorithms to support different scientific needs:

  • Popular in your discipline – Shows you the seminal works, for all time, in your field
  • Trending in your discipline – Shows you what articles are popular right now in your discipline
  • Based on the last document in your library – Gives you articles similar to the one you just added
  • Based on all the documents in your library – Provides the most tailored set of recommended articles by comparing the contents of your library with the contents of all other users on Mendeley.”

Semantic Scholar: a new way to search for scientific literature

Semantic ScholarSemantic Scholar is a new service for scientific literature search and discovery, focusing on semantics and textual understanding.

This search engine allows users to find key  papers about a topic or to produce a list of important citations or results in a given paper. It also serves as a resource and test bed for research in AI.

This search engine unveiled on 2 November by the non-profit Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) in Seattle, Washington, is working towards an understanding of a paper’s content: “We’re trying to get deep into the papers and be fast and clean and usable,” says Oren Etzioni, chief executive officer of AI2.”No one can keep up with the explosive growth of scientific literature. Which papers are most relevant? Which are considered the highest quality? Is anyone else working on this specific or related problem? Now, researchers can begin to answer these questions in seconds, speeding research and solving big problems faster.”

The product is currently limited to searching about 3 million open-access papers in computer science. But the AI2 team aims to broaden that to other fields within a year.

Using machine reading and vision methods, Semantic Scholar crawls the web, finding all PDFs of publically available scientific papers on computer science topics, extracting both text and diagrams/captions, and indexing it all for future contextual retrieval. Using natural language processing, the system identifies the top papers, extracts filtering information and topics, and sorts by what type of paper and how influential its citations are. It provides the scientist with a simple user interface (optimized for mobile) that maps to academic researchers’ expectations. Filters such as topic, date of publication, author and where published are built in. It includes smart, contextual recommendations for further keyword filtering as well.


Read also: Artificial-intelligence institute launches free science search engine, Nature, November 2, 2015.

ORCID launches Auto-Update functionality in collaboration with Crossref and DataCite

orcidORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes a researcher from every other researchers. Through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, ORCID supports automated linkages between the researcher and his or her professional activities ensuring that his or her work is recognized. ORCID thus provides a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers.

Last october ORCID launched an Auto-Update functionality in collaboration with Crossref and DataCite.  Until now, researchers have had to manually maintain their record, connecting new activities as they are made public.  In ORCID, that meant using Search & Link tools to claim works manually.  Researchers frequently asked:  “Why, if I include my ORCID iD when I submit a manuscript or dataset, isn’t my ORCID record “automagically” updated when the work is published?”

In order to make the Auto-Update work, researchers need to do two things:  (1) use the ORCID iD when submitting a paper or dataset, and (2) authorize Crossref and DataCite to update the ORCID record.  This permission may be revoked at any time, and researchers may also choose privacy settings for the information posted on their record.

Publishers and data centers also have two things to do: (1) collect ORCID identifiers during the submission workflow, using a process that involves authentication (not a type-in field!), and (2) embed the iD in the published paper and include the iD when submitting information to Crossref or DataCite. Upon receipt of data from a publisher or data center with a valid identifier, Crossref or DataCite can automatically push that information to the researcher’s ORCID record.

More information about how to opt out of this service can be found here: the ORCID Inbox. Source:

A very interesting article on this issue was written by Martin Fenner, DataCite Technical Director: Explaining the DataCite/ORCID Auto-update