Jisc CASRAI-UK Review of Organisational Identifiers

Jisc has commissioned a review of organisational identifiers for the Organisational Identifiers Working Group, which is one of three working groups operating under the Jisc CASRAI-UK pilot. The review will report to a workshop planned for the end of November 2014.

This is part of Jisc’s collaborative work with CASRAI (Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information) to trial the “CASRAI approach” in the UK.  The working group on “organisational lists” aims to:

  • explore possible sources of authoritative lists of organisations involved in UK research, including research performing organisations, charities, industry, etc.
  • develop a sustainable process for maintaining authoritative lists of organisations.

The review will examine three candidates “standards” for use with organisational lists:

  • International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI)/Ringgold
  • UK Provider Reference Number (UKPRN)
  • Digital Science.

Important elements to investigate will include metadata, accessibility, associated licences/IPR, current scope, classification, coverage, relationships with other standards/organisations, maintenance and development, functions supported and business model.

In particular, the reviewers will check these standards against use cases already articulated by the working group and at the same time check that those use cases are accurately expressed and adequately reflect the needs of UK research.  From a university perspective, the basic set of specific use cases will include:

  1. Applying for funding: identify funder (including type, location and size); identify co-Investigators, industrial partners. For CV/resume – identify previous collaborators/co-authors; specific impact beneficiaries; destination of previous staff.
  2. Funder: reviewers’ matching (process of funding allocation based on review and matching of expertise).
  3. Publishing an article: identify publisher; identify affiliations of all authors; identify funder(s) – who funded the research; funder(s) – who paid for any APC; identify data steward (often an organisation rather than a person).
  4. Benchmark collaborations: identify collaborators via funding or co-authorship, by type, location, size.
  5. Reporting to Research Outputs System (ROS): identify co-author affiliation; identify destinations of staff; identify impact beneficiaries.
  6. Matching of institute names / identifiers across historical or non-scientific datasets (e.g. for the preservation of the historical integrity of patent applications. To capture and preserve the organisation associated with a data collection at the time of deposit (and at other times) and not to have this updated/changed, should the organisation’s name or structure change. Linking the two or more incarnations of that organisation.)

The review will take key steps towards identifying whether a clear candidate exists for adoption in the UK. It will be run so that:

  1. the appropriate members of the working group can express in detail their requirements and expert opinions;
  2. the project team can summarise and clarify points of agreement and investigate, check and test areas where consensus does not exist;
  3. the project team can review the candidate solutions and check the use cases already outlined (and possibly others suggested by the working group) against each of the three suggested candidates;
  4. a validation workshop is held at the end of the project to present the results with a view to the working group then making clear decisions with summary information, data and results at hand.

In addition to the checking of use cases against the candidate “standards”, the project team will interview members of the working group and the providers of each identifier.

The membership of the working group includes representatives from ARMA[1], the UK Research Councils, HEDIIP[2], CrossRef[3], The British Library, Wellcome Trust, CRIS (current research information system) vendors and UK universities.

The lead consultant for the review is Nicky Ferguson.


[1] ARMA is the UK’s professional Association for Research Managers and Administrators
[2] HEDIIP is the Higher Education Data & Information Improvement Programme
[3] CrossRef is an association of scholarly publishers that develops shared infrastructure to support more effective scholarly communications.

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