PIDs provide a unique and permanent link between researchers, their institutions, and their work, facilitating attribution, discoverability, and collaboration.
In today's rapidly evolving academic landscape, researchers face the challenge of ensuring that their work has lasting impact. Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) have emerged as a powerful way to help researchers maximize the reach and influence of their research outputs and resources. PIDs provide a unique and permanent link between researchers, their institutions, and their work, facilitating attribution, discoverability, and collaboration.
PIDs can be assigned to:
- People: Unique identifiers for academic researchers and scholars, such as the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID);
- Objects: Identifiers for research outputs and resources, such as Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) from DataCite and Crossref;
- Places: Identifiers for institutions and research organizations, such as Research Organisation Registry (ROR) IDs.
In this post, we explore six ways how academic researchers can harness the potential of PIDs to increase the impact of their research.
- Proper Attribution: One of the fundamental aspects of research is proper attribution. ORCIDs allow researchers to establish their digital identity, claim and link their contributions, and build their scholarly profile. PIDs can ensure that researchers receive credit for their work and also foster transparency and trust within the academic community.
- Enhancing Discoverability: PIDs, such as DOIs, help enhance the discoverability of research outputs and resources. When researchers obtain DOIs for their data sets, theses, images, samples, preprints, or any other scholarly outputs, they create a direct and enduring link to their work. This ensures that their research is easily findable through academic repositories, search engines, citation databases, and content aggregators. In an era of information overload, PIDs help researchers stand out in the digital landscape and possibly attract the attention of fellow scholars, institutions, and funding agencies.
- Facilitating Collaboration: Collaboration is at the heart of scientific progress. PIDs, particularly ORCIDs, enable seamless collaboration by ensuring that all contributors are correctly identified and acknowledged. Research institutions and funding agencies increasingly require PIDs (ORCIDs) as part of grant applications, making it easier to track and assess the impact of collaborative research. In addition, PIDs can be used to link related research outputs, connecting publications, data sets, and other resources that contribute to a comprehensive understanding of a particular research topic. We call this a PID Graph.
- Supporting Data Management: Assigning DOIs to data sets, data management plans, and other resources makes them citable and allows researchers to maintain control over their data. It also ensures that data remains accessible and reusable over time, promoting transparency and reproducibility in research. Using PIDs contributes to fostering the implementation of the FAIR principles and facilitates making research data and other entities within the research lifecycle Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. This practice maximizes the impact of research data and also encourages others to reward data sharing and reuse. For more details, check the Make Data Count initiative, which pursues the promotion of open data metrics to enable evaluation and reward of research data reuse and impact.
- Tracking Research Impact: For researchers seeking to understand the impact of their work, PIDs offer a powerful way to monitor usage statistics such as citations, views, and downloads. These metrics help assess the reach and influence of their contributions and can be used to make informed decisions about research priorities, collaboration opportunities, and engagement with the wider academic community.
- Preserving Knowledge: The longevity of research outputs and resources is a concern for many academics. PIDs provide a solution by ensuring that research remains accessible and usable over time. Whether it's a journal article, a data set, or a piece of software, PIDs help preserve the scholarly record. This not only safeguards the research for future generations but also contributes to the ongoing advancement of knowledge.
Assigning DOIs to data sets, data management plans, and other resources makes them citable and allows researchers to maintain control over their data
One organization that champions this cause is DataCite, a non-profit established in 2009 by and for the research community. It endeavors to ensure that research outputs and resources are openly available and interconnected, enabling their reuse to advance knowledge across and between disciplines.
In 2023, we launched the Global Access Program (GAP) and a Global Access Fund (GAF) to improve access and enable communities in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America to further benefit from our open infrastructure services. Increasing community awareness through engagement activities is an important pillar of the GAP initiative. By enabling the creation and management of PIDs, integrating services to streamline research workflows, and facilitating the discovery and reuse of research outputs, DataCite aims to respond to the call for a more open and collaborative research landscape.
Gabriela Mejias is DataCite’s Community and Program Manager. She leads the Global Access Program, contributes to DataCite’s outreach efforts and seeks collaboration with the research community. Previously, she worked at ORCID, focusing on community engagement to increase adoption and membership. Gabriela volunteers with the EOSC PID Policy and Implementation Task Force, the Board of Directors of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations and the NISO Diversity Equity Inclusion and Accessibility committee. She is interested in facilitating a more open research infrastructure.
Mohamad Mostafa joined DataCite in June 2023 as a Regional Engagement Specialist for the Middle East and Asia. He works with the community to build more openness and trust in scholarly infrastructure and supports emerging communities transition towards Open Research and implementing its principles. Mohamad has participated in launching the ORCID Arabic interface and served as a volunteer CrossRef Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa. Mohamad is based in Dubai (UAE). He is passionate about Open Science and has been raising awareness among the research community.