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Persistent Identifiers 101

Kirsty27 July 2020

You might have heard the phrase ‘Persistent Identifier or even PID in passing, but what does it actually mean 

A persistent identifier (PID) is a long-lasting reference to a resource. That resource might be a publication, dataset or person. Equally it could be a scientific sample, funding body, set of geographical coordinates, unpublished report or piece of software. Whatever it is, the primary purpose of the PID is to provide the information required to reliably identify, verify and locate it.” – OpenAIRE 

These identifiers either connect to a set of metadata describing an item, or link to the item itself.  

In 2018, the Tickell report was released. It presented independent advice about Open Access, which had implications for the world of PIDs. Adam Tickell recommended that Jisc lead a project to select and promote a range of unique identifiers for different purposes, to try and limit the amount of confusion and duplication in this area.  

The JISC project has been in progress for the last year. They are working on what they describe as ‘priority PIDs’ which cover the following categories:  

  • People 
  • Works 
  • Organisations 
  • Grants 
  • Projects 

So what are the PIDs we need to be aware of? 

People 

The primary PID for people is one that you will already be familiar with if you are a regular reader of the blog. Even if you aren’t, you have probably heard of it – it’s ORCID.  

ORCID is an open identifier for individuals that allows you to secure accurate attribution for all of your outputs. It also functions quite nicely as an online bibliography, and can be used to automatically collect and record your papers in RPS. All in all, it’s pretty useful 

If you want to know more about what you can do with ORCID, have a look at our recent blog post ‘Getting the best out of your ORCID. All of the details about linking ORCID to RPS and vice versa, are available on the blog and the Open Access website 

Works 

The next identifier is for works. It’s another that you have probably seen, even if you don’t know a lot about themDOIDOI stands for Digital Object IdentifierIt’s a unique registration number for a Digital Object. This could be an article or a dataset, but it could equally be an image, a book, or even a chapter in a book. DOIs are unique and persistent which means that if your chosen journal changes publisher, you will still be able to find your article because the DOI is independent and will keep up to date.  

DOIs are most often acquired through a Registration Agency called Crossref, but you will also come across DataCiteBoth of these services do the same job, providing and tracking DOIs, but the underlying tools are slightly different.  

Did you know: if you have the DOI of a paper, an easy way to find that paper is to add https://doi.org/ to the front. The URL this creates will take you to the paper, no matter who published it. For example: 10.1080/08870446.2019.1679373 is DOI, and https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2019.1679373 will take you straight to the paper 

Organisations 

The Research Organisation Registry (ROR) is a new PID registry that is being created by key stakeholders, including Crossref and Jisc, to bring more detail and consistency to organisational identifiers. The definition of organisations goes beyond institutions like UCL to include any organisation that is involved in research production or management, so this can include funders, publishers, research institutes and scholarly societies.   

Grants 

Crossref is key in the identification of individual funders and in creating identifiers for research grants. Grant IDs are DOI’s, but connected to grant-specific metadata such as award type, value and investigators. The intent is for funders to register each grant and provide a GrantID, which has the potential to make tracking papers and data linked to individual projects much simpler in the long run. Several hundred grants have been registered already, mostly via Wellcome (With thanks to Rachael Lammey for the clarification 03/08/2020)

Projects 

The Jisc project is supporting Research Activity ID (RAiD), a project based in Australia which creates a unique identifier for a research project. The intent is for this to be the final part of a network of identifiers that will allow people, works, and institutions to be linked to their projects and funders. This will complete the chain and allow accurate attribution and accountability at every stage of the research process.   

How can I get involved? 

The work being undertaken to select and support individual PIDs at each stage of the research process is a good idea, and if it works then it will be a step towards a fully interconnected, open and transparent research process. The next stage of the Jisc project is currently underway, and they are surveying all sectors of the UK research community about awareness, use, and experience of PIDs. If you want to contribute, their survey is open and has just been extended until 21 August!  

PIDs diagram

PIDs environment – Click to enlarge

Spotlight on: Kudos – helping people find, read, understand and cite your research

Kirsty3 June 2020

Kudos (growkudos.com) is not a social networking site, or yet another profile – it’s a toolkit. Kudos is a free service which exists to help you manage your profiles and social media posts more effectively to maximize visibility of your work.

Kudos allows you to claim and describe your work for a variety of audiences, from your colleagues, to potential multi-disciplinary collaborators, to the general public. It also allows each contributor to put a personal statement onto a paper, describing your part in the work and putting your own personal spin on it. For example this publication, chosen at random, has been annotated with a short summary, had an image added, and each of the contributors has added a short personal comment.

Then all you have to do is use the inbuilt tools to share to multiple sources at once. You can even generate trackable links in Kudos for items without DOIs, so that however you do share your work – via email, social media, posters, discussion groups, scholarly networks etc – you can track which of those is really helping you maximize readership.

The metrics generated by these links include the number of people you have reached, the number of views, a global breakdown (which countries is your work attracting attention in), the Altmetric score (how is your work being discussed online), citation counts for publications, and a granular breakdown of the different ways you have communicated and which of these have been most effective. A recent study has shown that explaining and sharing via Kudos takes on average 10 minutes and leads to over 20% more downloads.

Kudos pro

Kudos have recently launched a pro version of their free to use platform, which extends their service beyond publications into the rest of your research, called Kudos Pro. This new service allows you to create profile pages for your work – whether for a specific project, or a general overview of your body of work. These pages are quick and easy to set up using a template. For example, this project, chosen at random, includes links to the profiles of the contributors and institutions, some publications as well as images and an extensive background to the project.

You can link from these pages to relevant materials and outputs, from links to surveys, code, data, images, to links to pre-prints/publications in your institutional repository, publisher website, pre-print server or even Kudos itself – this helps you provide a single ‘entry point’ to which you can direct people looking for more info about your work – while also enabling you to post outputs on other appropriate sites as you normally would.

Kudos Pro also includes a planning tool which can guide you through creating a communication, engagement and impact plan, helping you to identify target audiences, impact goals, and different activities that will help you achieve those goals with your project. You can also gather evidence of engagement and impact within this tool and download the plan and results for reporting, or to submit as part of a grant application to demonstrate the rigour with which you will plan and manage impact of your project.

Free access to Kudos pro

Given that many of the usual ways researchers communicate their work are currently off limits due to the current situation (e.g. conferences, workshops, meetings with stakeholders etc) Kudos have opened up the pro platform so that researchers can use it for free – people can claim their free access by signing up at https://growkudos.com/hub/projects

Kudos are also maintaining a project of their own collating Covid-19 research that has been annotated.