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Acknowledging Research Resources: New ORCID Data Model

Laure Haak's picture

Research resources run the gamut from research facilities housing specialized equipment, to repositories, museums, and field stations that house physical collections.  Both for the purposes of research rigor and reporting, it is important to be able to trace the resources that were used to generate research findings.

We’ve been working with a community group to determine whether and how identifiers can enable acknowledgement of resource use.  Our 2017 report documents findings and recommendations for resource hosts and publishers and describes specific pilot projects.  

A number of organizations have indicated interest in participating in these projects since the report was published, including museums, national libraries, field stations, and large scientific facilities.  In discussing use cases, we determined that ORCID needs to make some adjustments to our data model and Registry user interface, to accommodate the diversity of facilities and methods for requesting access to them.

Definitions: What do we mean by Research Resource

We started by clarifying terms and defining scope.   Broadly speaking, research resources are “things that researchers use for their research”. There are a number of initiatives in this area, among them BioSamples, eagle-I, MERIL, RRID, and Research Data Alliance working groups on Collections and Equipment. At ORCID, we care about identifiers - for the resource and for the person using it - so we focus on those resources that require a specific proposal process or credential to access.

The Working Group report found that resources are distinct from both affiliations and funding, so we are creating a new Research Resources section in the ORCID record and updating our APIs to convey resource information.  This section can hold information about the resource types listed in the following table:


Resource Type




A facility, building, or other physical space used to perform research.

Neutron spallation source, animal facility, data enclave, archaeological site, telescope array. ships, planes, farms, laboratories


An object or group of objects used for research purposes; can be tangible or digital.

Ocean mission, field campaign, collaborative data sets or resources, rare book collection; museum collection, biological specimen collection


Hardware used for research purposes

Microscope, computers, glassware, samples, materials


Services used for research purposes

Proteomics analysis, computing services, data analysis, logistical support, legal services, copyediting, expert or staff advisement


How to use the new Research Resources section

Items may be added to the Research Resources section only if the user’s ORCID iD has been authenticated, the user has given permission for the record to be updated, and identifiers for both the resource itself and the proposal to access the resource are included.  The data model is intentionally flexible to accommodate several use cases.  We will be adding support for the data model in a new API 3.0 release candidate, which we expect to release into our Sandbox environment mid-year, along with technical documentation.

To give an idea of our plans for ORCID user interface, we include here a a mock-up of a research resources record item for a fictional Giant Laser Award, with proposal host XSEDE and resource host Lasers-R-Us:  

This record item can be expanded to show additional information, including organization identifiers for the proposal and resource hosts, and use of two fictional resources, Giant Laser 1 and Moon Targets.

Next steps

Today we are launching Research Resources web pages describing the new functionality and inviting community participation in implementation projects, both for resource workflows and publication workflows.  We will be updating these pages with examples of implementations and organizations that are using the acknowledgement workflows.  

The JATS working group is putting forth a draft 1.2 schema that includes support for a research resources tag set for publishing workflows. We are holding an invitation-only breakfast meeting at SSP's annual conference to discuss resources in publishing workflows; if you'd like to attend, or if you are interested in participating in a monthly projects update call, please contact us at [email protected] for more information.

Related resources: