Crossref holds metadata for approximately 150 million scholarly artifacts. These range from peer reviewed journal articles through to scholarly books through to scientific blog posts. In fact, amid such heterogeneity, the only singular factor that unites such items is that they have been assigned a document object identifier (DOI); a unique identification string that can be used to resolve to a resource pertaining to said metadata (often, but not always, a copy of the work identified by the metadata).
We’re equally sad and proud to report that Rachael Lammey is moving on in her career to the very lucky team at 67Bricks. Her last day at Crossref is today, Friday 16th February. Which is too soon for us, but very exciting for her!
It’s hard to overstate Rachael’s impact on Crossref’s growth and success in her 12 years here. She started as a Product Manager where she developed that role into a broad and central function, and soon moved into the newly-formed community team as International Outreach Manager where she grew important programs such as Sponsors, Ambassadors, a series of ‘LIVE’ events around the world, and she went on to manage her own team and establish some of the most important strategic relationships that Crossref now feels fortunate to have.
Great news to share: our Executive Director, Ed Pentz, has been selected as the 2024 recipient of the Miles Conrad Award from the USA’s National Information Standards Organization (NISO). The award is testament to an individual’s lifetime contribution to the information community, and we couldn’t be more delighted that Ed was voted to be this year’s well-deserved recipient.
During the NISO Plus conference this week in Baltimore, USA, Ed accepted his award and delivered the 2024 Miles Conrad lecture, reflecting on how far open scholarly infrastructure has come, and the part he has played in this at Crossref and through numerous other collaborative initiatives.
Metadata about research objects and the relationships between them form the basis of the scholarly record: rich metadata has the potential to provide a richer context for scholarly output, and in particular, can provide trust signals to indicate integrity. Information on who authored a research work, who funded it, which other research works it cites, and whether it was updated, can act as signals of trustworthiness. Crossref provides foundational infrastructure to connect and preserve these records, but the creation of these records is an ongoing and complex community effort.
We’ve just added to our input schema the ability to include affiliation information using ROR identifiers. Members who register content using XML can now include ROR IDs, and we’ll add the capability to our manual content registration form, participation reports, and metadata retrieval APIs in the near future. And we are inviting members to a Crossref/ROR webinar on 29th September at 3pm UTC.
We’ve been working on the Research Organization Registry (ROR) as a community initiative for the last few years. Along with the California Digital Library and DataCite, our staff has been involved in setting the strategy, planning governance and sustainability, developing technical infrastructure, hiring/loaning staff, and engaging with people in person and online. In our view, it’s the best current model of a collaborative initiative between like-minded open scholarly infrastructure (OSI) organizations.
Last year, Project Manager Maria Gould described the case for publishers adopting ROR and ROR was ranked the number one priority at our last in-person annual meeting. Now it’s time that Crossref’s services themselves took up the baton to meet the growing demand.
The inclusion of ROR in the Crossref metadata will help everyone in the scholarly ecosystem make critical connections more easily. For example, research institutions need to monitor and measure their output by the articles and other resources their researchers have produced. Journals need to know with which institutions authors are affiliated to determine eligibility for institutionally sponsored publishing agreements. Funders need to be able to discover and track the research and researchers they have supported. Academic librarians need to easily find all of the publications associated with their campus.
Earlier this month, GRID and ROR announced that after working together to seed the community-run Research Organization Registry, GRID would be retiring from public service and handing the proverbial torch over to ROR as the scholarly community’s reliable universal open identifier for affiliations. That means that our members who have been using GRID now need to consider their move to ROR and think about how they can add ROR IDs into the metadata that they manage and share through Crossref.
We’ve been able to include ROR IDs for our grant metadata schema as affiliation information for two years, since July 2019. And the Australia Research Data Commons (ARDC) was the first member to add ROR IDs to the Crossref system in 2020. In early July, we completed the work to accept ROR IDs for affiliation assertions for all other types of records with an affiliation or institution element, such as journal articles, book chapters, preprints, datasets, dissertations, and many more.
Next, we will commence the plans to support ROR in our other tools and services, such as Participation Reports. We’ll work on alignment with the Open Funder Registry and share our plans to collect the information via the new user interface we’re developing for registering and managing metadata. Open Journal Systems (OJS) already has a ROR Plugin, developed by the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB). This supports the collection of ROR IDs and future releases of this plugin and the OJS DOI plugin will allow including ROR IDs in the metadata sent to Crossref, to support thousands of our members to share ROR IDs via their Crossref metadata.
We also aim to add ROR to our metadata retrieval options, including the REST API, which recently saw the start of an unblocking with our move to a more robust technical foundation.
The call for participation
Many Crossref publishers, funders, and service providers are already planning to integrate ROR with their systems, map their affiliation data to ROR, and include ROR in Crossref metadata. In addition to publishers and funders, libraries, repositories, and other stakeholders are developing support for ROR. For example, the Plan S Journal Checker tool uses ROR IDs to let people check whether a particular journal is compliant with an author’s funder and institutional open access policies. In addition, the ROR website shows a growing list of active and in-progress ROR integrations.
Crossref members registering research grants via Altum’s ProposalCentral system can already add ROR IDs. Now those registering articles, books, preprints, datasets, dissertations, and other research objects, can start including much clearer and all-important affiliation metadata as part of their content registration going forward. As with all newly-introduced metadata elements, we recommend adding ROR IDs from now and ongoing, but planning a distinct project to backfill older records. We know that more than 80% of records have been updated and enriched at least once with additional and cleaner metadata, so as members do this routinely, they can include ROR IDs alongside updating URLs, license or funding information, and other metadata.