For the first time in Australia, an assessment of the value of persistent identifiers to research is underway.
Persistent Identifiers are vital to research because they create a persistent link to a location on the internet for journal papers, data, software, physical samples and grey literature. This facilitates citation, attribution, discovery and retrieval of information about the producers and the products of research, which is an essential foundation for future research.
A cost-benefit analysis of the impact of persistent identifiers on Australian research is being conducted by MoreBrains Cooperative, supported by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) and Australian Access Federation (AAF). A report on the analysis is expected in mid-2022.
The Australian analysis follows a recent cost-benefit analysis of the UK research and innovation system, which revealed that persistent identifiers (PIDs) could save universities more than £5.67 million (AUD$10.6 million) over the course of 5 years with the establishment of a national PID support consortium.
The UK report states: “These savings will only expand once the other priority PIDs (and other entities that could be identified, such as books, white papers, reports, instruments, etc) are equally well adopted.”
Essential National Research Infrastructure
PIDs are an important service the ARDC and AAF provides to the Australian research community. They are central to our efforts to make research data, software and project outputs FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable).
Natasha Simons, Associate Director, Data & Services at the ARDC, said, “Our national identifier infrastructure provides a lot of value to the Australian research sector.
“We know PIDs are saving considerable time and money for researchers, institutions and funders in Australia, and there is much more that can be done to realise their benefits. However we don’t have comprehensive information on these savings across the sector or a predictor model that will show us how we should invest in PIDs if we want to maximise the benefits.
“The cost-benefit analysis of PIDs in Australia is an important first step in gathering and analysing the data needed to shape a more collaborative and holistic national PID strategy.”
Melroy Almeida, ORCID Community Engagement and Support Lead at AAF, said, “We constantly hear from researchers that ORCID IDs save them so much time and effort when completing grant applications and keeping track of their publications. The cost-benefit analysis will help quantify these benefits to go alongside the anecdotes, and help promote further adoption and integration of PIDs in Australian research.”
Australia’s Persistent Identifier Services
In Australia, the ARDC provides PIDs for ‘things’, while AAF provides PIDs for ‘people’.
The ARDC provides its PIDS services to 68 Australian research institutions, and researchers access these services via their institution.
The ARDC identifier services include:
- Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs): for research data, software, instruments, Data Management Plans and ‘grey literature’. ARDC leads the Australian DataCite DOI consortium
- Handles: for data collections and other research outputs that are not appropriate for a DOI
- IGSN (International Geo Sample Number): for physical samples
- RAiD (Research Activity Identifier)): for research projects and activities.
The AAF operates the Australian ORCID consortium. ORCID is the most popular persistent identifier for people, with 176,378 ORCID IDs registered to an Australian email address as of 1 January 2022, which has grown year on year since the ORCID Consortium began in 2016.
The ARDC is funded through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to support national digital research infrastructure for Australian researchers.
AAF is a not-for-profit organisation that is owned by its members made up of all Australian Universities and national research organisations including CSIRO. It works to deliver secure federated access that connects Australian teachers, students and researchers to global online resources.