Reports and ORCID Recommendations from ORBIT Funder Working Group

Laure Haak's picture

The ORBIT project is nearing the end of its second year.  We have had the wonderful opportunity to partner with a number of research funding organizations during this time and are now happy to share an update on our work!  

The following organizations participated in the ORBIT Project

Australian Research Council - ARC (Australia) | Austrian Science Fund - FWF (Austria) | BBSRC (UK) | Canadian Institutes of Health Research - CIHR (Canada) | CONCYTEC (Peru) | Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico - CNPq (Brazil) | Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - CAPES (Brazil) | Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia - FCT (Portugal) | Howard Hughes Medical Institute - HHMI (USA) | Japan Science and Technology Agency - JST (Japan) | Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment - MBIE (New Zealand) | National Humanities Alliance - NHA (USA) | National Research Foundation - NRF (South Africa) | Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada - NSERC (Canada) | Science and Technology Development Fund - STDF (Egypt) | Science Foundation Ireland - SFI (Ireland) | Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council - SSHRC (Canada) | Swiss National Science Foundation - SNF (Switzerland) | US National Institutes of Health - NIH (USA) | Wellcome Trust (UK)

This week, we are releasing two survey reports and one set of recommendations, all developed with the ORBIT participants.  These reports are framed by the funding community’s progress with integrating ORCID into grants processes. Wellcome Trust has been collecting ORCID iDs from its applicants since 2015. They have now been joined by more funding organizations, including the Australian Research Council, which is using ORCID to enable applicants to build their application CVs; CAPES, which is using ORCID to enable international participation in its funding programs; and the US National Institutes of Health, which announced it will be using ORCID in NIH training grant applications

Look for an upcoming series of posts on these regional initiatives, coming later this year.  

Enter Once - Grant Applications

Ultimately, our goal is to enable researchers to easily share information about their activities and affiliations with grant application systems, reducing the data entry burden for them and improving data quality for funders and the broader community. In our new ORBIT: Grant Application Data Field Survey Report, we summarize data fields used by funders to collect grant application information, based on responses from nine participating national and philanthropic funders to a survey carried out as part of the ORBIT project.  Our analysis shows that the ORCID data model accommodates -- or could easily accommodate -- much of the grant applicant information required by funders. We also analyzed the amount and sources of this information in the ORCID Registry.  For the purposes of reduction of researcher burden and data quality/fidelity, it is preferable that this information is added to ORCID records by the various information systems used by researchers, as part of an existing workflow. The analysis has led to specific actions for both ORCID and funders, and we hope that its conclusions will also be more broadly useful in highlighting actions to maximize the availability of open, reusable funding information, in particular through the use of open persistent identifiers and metadata.  

Reuse Often - Grant Reporting

After working with funders to analyze data needs for workflows associated with applying for, reviewing, and awarding grants, in the second phase of ORBIT, the project team gathered information about the systems, workflows, and processes currently used by funders for research reporting and evaluation. We sought to identify inefficiencies in data-gathering and prioritize a second set of pathfinder projects to test, refine, and assess solutions. Our information-gathering took the form of an initial survey of members of the ORBIT Funder Working Group, which was also shared with a network of United States Federal funders and the Belmont Forum, to widen the reach of our investigation. In all, 13 ORBIT funders from nine countries in six continents participated, ranging from national, multidisciplinary research funding bodies to discipline-focused philanthropic funders. 

The ORBIT Funder Reporting Survey report includes the following findings: 

  • Connecting grants to subsequent research activities and outputs is the biggest challenge for funders
  • Although most funders’ reporting requests are fulfilled, much of the information is provided late or is of low quality and requires time-consuming cleanup
  • More than 50% of funders interact with researchers during the reporting process, suggesting that ORCID could be integrated into reporting workflows

The ORBIT Funder Working Group therefore makes the following recommendations: 

  • Funders, publishers, and identifier registries should work together to develop, implement, and socialize workflows that use identifiers to create and share transparent connections between people, funding, and research activities in grant and publication workflows
  • Funder reporting systems should implement digital reporting workflows that reduce reporting burden, by enabling researchers to populate web forms with information from other systems, including ORCID records, without rekeying or manual data entry
  • Funders should partner with publishers to leverage identifiers for organizations, grants, and people, to enable compliance with funder open access and data-sharing requirements

Sharing What Works

The ORBIT Funder Working Group has also developed a set of recommendations, ORCID and Grant DOIs: Engaging the Community to Ensure Openness and Transparency of Funding Information, calling for the combined use of ORCID and Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to support openness and transparency of funding information.  Their report describes specific funding system information flows, and proposes complementary actions by ORCID, Crossref, researchers, and publishers to enable open research goals.  

Want to Learn More or Get Involved?

A number of funders have signed the ORCID Funder Open Letter committing to the use of best practices for collecting ORCID iDs from applicants and sharing grant award information publicly. We welcome their support and invite all organizations that fund research and scholarship to consider joining them as signatories.

We also invite you to attend our upcoming webinars:

  • A series of Better Together webinars where researchers, funders, and vendors will share best practices and experiences of using ORCID 
  • Into ORBIT webinar where speakers from FWG organizations will discuss ORBIT reports’ recommendations and findings, as well as sharing their organization’s ORCID policy
  • Let’s Integrate webinar featuring speakers from funders large and small, who will share their experiences and demonstrate that anyone can integrate ORCID 

Watch our events page for details of these and other ORCID webinars and workshops.  If you are an ORCID member, check your monthly newsletter for a schedule of activities.  You can also register to receive our blog

As we present the findings of these reports to our community over the coming months, we invite your feedback.  We hope that we can count on you to play your part in implementing the ORBIT FWG’s recommendations, whether you’re a funder, a publisher, a research institution, or a researcher. Thank you!

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