Sustaining and Strengthening ROR

By Maria Gould | August 20, 2020

We’re more than halfway through 2020, and it has already been a year like no other. In the midst of global upheaval and uncertainty, work on the Research Organization Registry continues. Building and sustaining community and connections through open scholarly infrastructure seems more important than ever.

Thanks to your support, engagement, and hard work, ROR has been making great progress toward our key goals for this year: building out ROR’s infrastructure, driving adoption and integration of ROR IDs, and setting ROR up for long-term sustainability. We’re excited to share news and updates on these and other efforts below.


Sustainability planning is a key activity for ROR this year as the project matures. ROR’s sustainability strategy has been developed according to and motivated by the following goals and principles.

  • Focus on providing free and open data: ROR data is CC0. It can never be owned by anyone, and future paid services won’t impact access to the core data.
  • Keep the scope manageable: ROR is focused exclusively on providing core high-quality open data and infrastructure that is specific to the affiliation use case, can be easily implemented and integrated, and can be leveraged and built upon by external services and projects.
  • Cultivate early and sustained community engagement and governance: Community is key to ROR’s success and longevity. Since Day 1, ROR has been focused on establishing a core base of community users invested in ROR’s long-term success, driving adoption across the research landscape, and ensuring that ROR is attentive and adaptable to community needs.
  • Maintain low overhead: ROR does not need to be its own organization, but can succeed as a joint collaboration by steering organizations and wider community. In this way, costs and other overhead can be contained.
  • Diversify resourcing streams: ROR is not reliant on a single source of funding but rather strategically resourced through a combination of in-kind funds from steering organizations, grant funding, community contributions, and (in future) optional add-on service fees.


Last October, ROR kicked off a fundraising campaign to shore up resourcing for crucial development work and adoption efforts through a combination of grant funding and community investments, supplementing in-kind contributions from ROR’s partner organizations. A number of you stepped up and pitched in to pledge support, providing an early and crucial boost to the campaign.

We are thrilled to announce that ROR has been awarded funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to implement key projects over the next two years. This funding will support development of a comprehensive community-based curation model in ROR (IMLS project), and ongoing efforts to drive wider adoption of ROR IDs and promote the use of open affiliation identifiers in research infrastructure (NSF project).

With this funding along with the community contributions received to date, ROR is now in a stronger position to be able to scale up its development and adoption efforts this year and in the years to come.

It is tremendously meaningful for ROR to have this support to count on from community partners as well as funders. Thank you!


ROR development work is continuing to set up the registry’s infrastructure to support independent management and curation of registry data. This is the top development priority for 2020. There are some key aspects to this effort:

  • Create a ROR schema
  • Add additional metadata fields to ROR (based on the original GRID seed file)
  • Identify records by status (e.g., active or inactive) and support redirects and tombstone pages for merged and deprecated records
  • Build an input mechanism for users to submit requests to make changes to the registry
  • Build a mechanism to make changes directly in ROR

As part of this development work, ROR is also building out workflows and policies to support long-term curation of the registry. We have been piloting these workflows with a small group of community group members and will be expanding this community-based curation model later this year.

ROR adoption and integrations

A number of systems have already integrated or are working on integrating with ROR to collect and display clean and consistent affiliation data. The ROR website is keeping a running list of current and pending adopters that we know about. Contact ROR to add other examples to the list.

ROR has also convened an adoption working group for publishers and publishing systems working on or planning ROR integrations. If you are working on an integration and wish to be part of this group, please get in touch.

Outreach and events

ROR outreach and events are continuing this year and we appreciate the ability to stay connected virtually.

Catch the recordings of some recent conferences where ROR presented:

We started holding an “Introduction to ROR” webinar for those interested in getting a basic overview of the project. The inaugural webinar was held in April (watch the recording here) and the next one will take place in October (date to be confirmed soon).

ROR also has a brand-new YouTube channel where we will be sharing recordings of conference presentations as well as demos and tutorials for working with the registry.

Stay connected

ROR is a community-driven effort and we encourage anyone who is interested to get involved.

You can follow project updates on Twitter and here on the ROR Blog, and participate in discussions in the ROR Slack. If you’re working on a ROR integration, check out the API documentation on Github.

The ROR Community Advisory Group holds community calls every other month. Contact to join this group.

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