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What is up with ORCID and ROR?

Laure Haak's picture

There’s been much buzz in the community lately about the Research Organization Registry (ROR), “a community-led project to develop an open, sustainable, usable, and unique identifier for every research organization in the world.” ROR celebrated its first year in December 2019; it was an action-packed year which included the launch of the ROR registry and API, as well as the addition of support for ROR IDs in systems like DataCite, Dryad, Wikidata, and GRID.

Questions have been popping up about ORCID’s involvement with ROR and our plans to support ROR in the ORCID Registry, so we’re devoting today’s post to all things ORCID + ROR.

Is ORCID involved in the ROR project and governance?

As former ORCID board chair Veronique Kiermer mentioned in our last organization IDs update, we participated in the Organization ID Working Group, which laid the groundwork for the development of ROR, but we are not directly involved in the ROR project or its steering group. 

Why is ORCID not part of the ROR steering group or project team?

We are thrilled that ROR continues to gather momentum in the community under the guidance of Crossref, DataCite and other project partners. We stepped off the guidance group in 2018 following a deep conversation with our Board, who decided that ORCID needed to focus our resources on our own sustainability. We have now reached that milestone, making it more possible for us in the coming years to engage in community initiatives like ROR.

Will ROR IDs be supported in the ORCID Registry?

Yes. Adding RORs to the ORCID Registry is on our roadmap. Open identifiers for organizations are a critical component of trusted assertions.  While we work out the complex interdependencies involved in implementing ROR, we continue to actively encourage their adoption and use in a wide variety of communication channels.

Will ORCID move to using only ROR organization IDs? 

ORCID is all-in with persistent identifiers. We support a diverse global community with a variety of use cases and requirements.  We are keenly aware that reaching consensus on “the one” is difficult, if not distracting, as we all work toward digital transformation and open research goals.  We expect messiness during this transitional period and strive to provide and support tools - technical and communications - to help manage it, such as FAIR, CARE, and Metadata 2020.  We currently support four organization ID types (GRID, LEI, Crossref funder ID, and Ringgold) in affiliation, funding, research resource, and peer review items. Similarly, we support multiple ID types for other items in the ORCID registry (e.g., DOI, PMID, ISBN and over 40 other identifier types for works; Scopus, ResearcherID, ISNI and others for people).  

How ORCID is implementing ROR

ORCID has supported organization IDs since 2013. As of this post, the Registry contains 6,163,549 affiliations with a GRID, LEI or Ringgold ID. If we include funding, peer review and research resource items, ORCID records are connected to 167,147 different organization IDs. This means we need to figure out how to manage an organization identifier soup. We have done this for other ID types, so we have experience to draw from. Our approach is to separate this into back-end database, back-office system, and user interface work. Our plan is to offer ROR as an option to our members to use when they make assertions, and over time enable ROR in the user interface.    

  1. Build tools to automate import and update of organization ID metadata
    We are working to automate our processes for importing and managing organization identifiers. This work needs to be completed before we take on an additional ID system, otherwise we risk stretching our current tools (and people) beyond their limits. 
  2. Update our back-office membership system
    We use persistent IDs in our user-facing systems and in our internal systems. We need to update our membership system and processes to support ROR. This can also help to manage mapping between identifiers. 
  3. Map organizations to ALL of their different IDs
    We have multiple entries in our database for a given organization, and we are working through how to relate different organization IDs to one organization. This requires a combination of metadata and user experience research, and will be an ongoing piece of work. We are hoping that this mapping is addressed, at least in part, by the work of ROR.   

When will ROR ID functionality be added to the ORCID Registry?

We plan to begin the steps needed to implement ROR support in 2020. Follow Trello: Integrate ROR (Research Organization Registry) IDs for updates! In the meantime, integrators can use GRIDs, which currently map one-one to RORs.

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