Quality metadata is foundational to the research nexus and all Crossref services. When inaccuracies creep in, these create problems that get compounded down the line. No wonder that reports of metadata errors from authors, members, and other metadata users are some of the most common messages we receive into the technical support team (we encourage you to continue to report these metadata errors).
We make members’ metadata openly available via our APIs, which means people and machines can incorporate it into their research tools and services - thus, we all want it to be accurate.
The other day I was out and about and got into a conversation with someone who asked me about my doctoral work in English literature. I’ve had the same conversation many times: I tell someone (only if they ask!) that my dissertation was a history of the villanelle, and then they cheerfully admit that they don’t know what a villanelle is, and then I ask them if they’re familiar with Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do not go gentle into that good night.
Having joined the Crossref team merely a week previously, the mid-year community update on June 14th was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the Research Nexus vision. We explored its building blocks and practical implementation steps within our reach, and within our imagination of the future.
Read on (or watch the recording) for a whistlestop tour of everything – from what on Earth is Research Nexus, through to how it’s taking shape at Crossref, to how you are involved, and finally – to what concerns the community surrounding the vision and how we’re going to address that.
TL;DR A year ago, we announced that we were putting the “R” back in R&D. That was when Rachael Lammey joined the R&D team as the Head of Strategic Initiatives.
And now, with Rachael assuming the role of Product Director, I’m delighted to announce that Dominika Tkaczyk has agreed to take over Rachael’s role as the Head of Strategic Initiatives. Of course, you might already know her.
We will also immediately start recruiting for a new Principal R&D Developer to work with Esha and Dominika on the R&D team.
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.