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The Path to ROR Adoption in Scholarly Publishing and Beyond

By Maria Gould | December 11, 2020

ROR offers an open and community-driven solution for tracking research outputs by institutions. ROR identifiers for research organizations are not meant to exist on their own. Their potential will be fully realized with wide adoption of ROR IDs in scholarly infrastructure and metadata.

Although ROR is still relatively new, ROR IDs are already being integrated and used in various ways. In a previous post, we shared the story of how Dryad relies on ROR to capture affiliation data for its 30,000 datasets and counting. Dryad sends metadata to DataCite, which supports ROR IDs in its schema. This along with metadata provided by other DataCite members allows for searching research affiliated with specific institutions and makes it possible to connect this research to other identifiers for scholarship and present these connections in discovery services.

In this post, we highlight ROR integration work focused on scholarly publishing, an area that depends heavily on the identification of institutional affiliations and one that can benefit from ROR’s open approach to this challenge.

Affiliations are a central component of publishing practices in a number of ways. They enable more complete identification of author details, which is important both during the peer review process (e.g., to minimize conflicts of interest by excluding editors or reviewers from the same institution as the author) and after publication (supporting the proper assignment of credit as well as easier tracking of research by institution). Using an affiliation identifier rather than a free-text field makes these processes more efficient and accurate.

Affiliations are also an increasingly crucial data point for open access publishing agreements. Publishers need to know if authors are covered under any agreements with their institutions or funders. Libraries negotiating agreements need to know how much publishing volume to expect by authors at their institutions.

The OA Switchboard and cOAlitionS Journal Checker Tool are two examples of how affiliation data based on ROR can be used by publishers, institutions, authors, and publishing stakeholders to help navigate this landscape. There are additional implementations taking place in the context of manuscript submission systems: Rockefeller University Press has built a ROR integration into its system, a team is developing a ROR plugin for PKP’s Open Journal Systems (OJS) platform, and we expect to see additional integrations in place in early 2021.

With the forthcoming arrival of the new Crossref metadata schema, ROR IDs can be included in the metadata that Crossref members deposit and will be available for others to use via Crossref’s API. This opens up a world of possibilities for discovering and linking research by institutions.

The value proposition of ROR truly depends on wide adoption and focusing on the potential to leverage affiliations across scholarly metadata is a core theme for the coming year. To that end, we are thrilled to welcome Liz Krznarich to the team as ROR’s new (and first) Adoption Manager. Based at DataCite (one of the organizations behind ROR), where she will also be supporting adoption efforts more generally, Liz’s work with ROR will be focused on driving wide adoption of ROR IDs, including support and guidance for the various ways in which ROR can be implemented. Liz’s background as a librarian and programmer, and her prior experience at ORCID, make her an ideal fit for this position. Stay tuned for more news from Liz as adoption projects get underway!

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