Social Science blog

20 October 2012

‘Identifiers’: Creating a network of researchers and research objects

An aim of The British Library is to help researchers to navigate the vast scholarly record and discover resources that are relevant to them. We engage in projects with the international research community to develop initiatives and resources to improve this process. In recent years a lot of work has been done in the area of ‘identifiers’ looking at research objects (books, journals, datasets etc.) and of people (authors, researchers, contributors, data creators etc.)

The Library is a key member and UK registration agent of the DataCite initiative which allows persistent digital object identifiers (DOIs) to be assigned to datasets and other research objects. We have worked with the UK Data Service to assign DataCite DOIs to the major economic and social surveys and datasets, and their whole data catalogue now has persistent identifiers attached to it. The ESRC have produced a handy guide for social scientists in using these DOIs in research papers. 

The Library is also involved in creating unique identifiers for researchers as part of initiatives such as ISNI, The Names Project and ORCID. These projects are aimed at eliminating ambiguity between researchers’ names and assigning a single unique identifier to an author or researcher for their whole career. If you are a researcher, author or contributor you can now register your own ORCID ID and start linking your publications to your profile through tools that have been developed with the ORCID launch partners.

This week in Belin saw the launch of ORCID and the kick off meeting for an EC financed project called ODIN: ORCID and DataCite Interoperability Network. This project involves the BL Social Sciences team working with its partners at CERN, ORCID, DataCite, Dryad, arXiv and Australian National Data Service with the aim of linking up these researcher identifiers and digital object identifiers.  The Social Science team have taken up the challenge of producing a proof of concept model linking authors and research objects in the UK social science sphere and will be looking at the use and citation of British Birth Cohort Studies and their outputs to create a model network. These studies are ideal to use in our proof of concept as there is a high rate of re-use of the data and, as the first study was created in 1946, there is a very long history of citation and data curation with many people fulfilling different roles in regards to the data. We will be contrasting our proof of concept with one that CERN are creating around citations and attribution in high energy physics and we will come together later in the project and identify commanalities across the disciplines. 


Documents and Birthday cards from the National Survey for Health and Development (NSHD) which is now 66 years old

Linking researchers with thier outputs and citations has huge potential to improve research resource discovery and also attribute credit to data creators, contributors, researchers as well as authors where it may have been overlooked previously. In theory you should be able to track the impact a data creator has by following the linked citations from their dataset(s) into other research objects such as journals, working papers, derived data, secondary data.....and maybe all the way into policy and legislation. This could be an important development for researchers and service providers who increasingly have to demonstrate the impact of their work to funders. It will also hopefully have the effect of researchers being more willing to make their research data available openly as the credit and citations will be visible and trackable.

To produce this proof of concept we will be working with and taking advice from the ODIN consortium partners and many others including: The Centre for Longitudinal Studies, CLOSER, UK Data Service, ISNI, The Names Project, Crossref, the GESIS data centre in Germany, users of the birth cohort studies and many others. This is a 2 year project so there will be more updates about this work on this blog as it progresses.

We are currently recruiting for a software developer to create the conceptual models and practical tools for the project, so if you have development skills and are interested in this project, then please apply on our recruitment site!



The comments to this entry are closed.