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This observation was written by Caroline Winter.

At a glance:

Title The UK Persistent Identifier (PID) Consortium
Creator Jisc
Publication Date n/a
Keywords open access, identity management, research data management

In a post for The Scholarly Kitchen in June 2020, Alice Meadows argues that now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented levels of openness and collaboration among researchers around the world, building a strong and stable research infrastructure is more important than ever (Meadows 2020; see also “Open Scholarship and COVID-19”). Meadows announces that, as part of its efforts to support and expand open access (OA) in the UK, Jisc is working to establish a UK Persistent Identifier (PID) Consortium.

Jisc is a not-for-profit organization that supports the digital technology needs of the higher education, further education, and skills sectors in the UK. It is establishing the UK PID Consortium in response to a recommendation in Adam Tickell’s report Open Access to Research Publications – 2018, which summarizes the state of OA in the UK and offers recommendations for supporting it further. Tickell recommends that Jisc takes the lead in “selecting and promoting a range of unique identifiers, including ORCID, in collaboration with sector leaders with relevant partner organizations” (Tickell 2018, 39). He makes this recommendation in the context of reducing the administrative burden of OA, including making information about OA publishing options readily available to researchers and sharing publication and relevant information efficiently among publishers, researchers, and institutions (Tickell 2018).

In a subsequent report, Developing a Persistent Identifier Roadmap for Open Access to UK Research (2020), Josh Brown notes that the UK PID Consortium hopes to build upon the success of the UK ORCID Consortium and apply its model to raising awareness and usage of other PIDs. Brown describes PIDs as essential “linking structures” in the scholarly communication ecosystem that connect various elements of the system, and notes that although policies that mandate the use of PIDs are useful, their greatest benefits can be realized only when PIDs are used widely, and in combination (2020).

Some PIDs are proprietary, such as Elsevier’s Scopus Author Identifier and the Web of Science ResearcherID. Open PIDs are generally registered and maintained by research organizations, and because they are non-proprietary, they are completely interoperable and resolvable (transformable into URLs that lead to a human-readable document). Some widely used open PIDs include

The development of a UK PID Consortium is currently in the research stage, which includes consulting with stakeholders including researchers, publishers, and funders through focus groups and a feedback survey.

INKE Partnership Members and PIDs

Several INKE Partnership members are working to support the use of PIDs through their involvement with ORCID, including the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL–ABRC), Compute Canada, CRKN–RCDR, and the Public Knowledge Project with ORCID-CA, and Edith Cowan University with the Australian ORCID Consortium.

The INKE Partnership’s in-development Canadian Humanities and Social Sciences Commons is working to integrate ORCID as a part of its SSO and member profile capacities.

CARL also recognizes the importance of interoperable metadata for repositories, and in May 2020 announced a new plugin for the widely used open repository platform DSpace to adhere to the most recent guidelines from OpenAIRE for repository metadata, which include the use of ORCID iDs to identify authors (Brin 2020).

The UK PID Consortium and Open Scholarship

In a post for the ORCID-UK blog, Meadows notes that several other organizations are already developing joint strategies for PID use and development for open scholarship infrastructures, including the Australian Research Data Commons, Portugal’s FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia), and Brazil’s CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamentao de Pessoal de Nivel Superior (Meadows 2020).

Because they identify and connect elements of the scholarly communication ecosystem, PIDs are essential for making open scholarship FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) (Wilkinson et al. 2016). The UK PID Consortium is one of many groups around the world engaging in research and outreach related to PIDs as well as establishing and supporting their use.

Works Cited

Brin, Author Lise. 2020. “Collaborating to Support Greater Visibility and Discoverability of Open Scholarship – DSpace 5 & 6 Extension Now Available to Support ORCID and New OpenAIRE Guidelines.” Canadian Association of Research Libraries (blog). May 20, 2020.

Meadows, Alice. 2020. “ORCID and the UK National PID Consortium.” Text. August 3, 2020.

Tickell, Adam. 2018. “Open Access to Research Publications – 2018.”

Wilkinson, Mark D., Michel Dumontier, IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Gabrielle Appleton, Myles Axton, Arie Baak, Niklas Blomberg, et al. 2016. “The FAIR Guiding Principles for Scientific Data Management and Stewardship.” Scientific Data 3 (1): 160018.