Keep on ROR-ing: A Research Organization Registry Update

The Research Organization Registry (ROR) has had a big year! As CDL is a key partner in the ROR initiative, we are posting some updates here about what has been happening with ROR and where we’re going next.

The first prototype of the ROR registry launched in January and now includes unique IDs and metadata records for nearly 100,000 organizations. The registry’s launch marked the culmination of several years of planning and collaboration by numerous organizations and stakeholders from across the scholarly communications landscape to establish a guiding vision and a core set of requirements for open infrastructure for research organization IDs and metadata.

ROR emerged to fill a crucial gap in scholarly infrastructure: while we already had an open network of identifiers for research outputs (DOIs for publications and data) and research contributors (ORCID IDs), open identifiers for research organizations were a missing piece. With ROR we now have the power and the ability to connect and leverage all of these identifiers to enable better discovery and tracking of research outputs across institutions and funding bodies.

In addition to the registry itself, ROR offers open tools for interacting with ROR data and implementing ROR IDs, including a front-end search interface, an open API, a reconciler that works with OpenRefine to clean up messy lists of affiliations, affiliation matching functionality to connect free-text affiliation strings to ROR IDs, and a public data dump. All of the ROR code is available on Github. As we grow the registry, we will be building curation tools for maintaining ROR records over time, establishing a community curation board, and developing more support for system integrations and for usage of registry data.

ROR IDs can be captured now in systems and platforms where researcher affiliations are collected, and supported in Crossref and DataCite metadata. A number of ROR integrations are active or in progress, spanning data repositories, manuscript tracking systems, grant application systems, institutional repositories, and others. One of these early implementations—a simple affiliation lookup in Dryad’s data publishing platform that collects clean and consistent affiliation data for each dataset submitted—is described in this blog post.

ROR is run as a community collaboration and led by academic and nonprofit organizations with deep expertise in scholarly communication and open infrastructure initiatives. All of ROR’s work so far has been completed through in-kind donations from its steering organizations. We also have supporters and advisors from across industries and around the world.

In the coming years, we want to further develop ROR to enable greater adoption and downstream uses. Our organizations are committed to ROR for the long-term but we can’t move forward without additional community support. We have launched a fundraising campaign in order to be able to scale up our operations, hire dedicated staff, and develop and deliver new features, with a plan to launch a paid service tier in 2022 to recover costs while keeping the registry’s data open and free for all.

The ROR campaign’s first fundraising target is $75,000 by the end of 2019, and we have raised $36,000 so far, bringing us nearly halfway to our year-end goal. We are grateful to the following supporters for getting the campaign off to a strong start:

ROR’s growing community of supporters speaks to the importance of building and sustaining open infrastructure for scholarly communications.

Steve Pinchotti, CEO of Altum—which has integrated ROR IDs into 26,000 institution profiles in its ProposalCentral grants platform—stated:

“ROR is a critical component of a connected research data landscape. As a software company focused on the advancement of research, Altum recognizes our responsibility to financially support and sustain the key research infrastructure initiatives like ORCID and ROR that enable open science and open global identifiers for research outputs, research contributors, and research institutions.”

Melissa Harrison, Head of Production Operations at eLife, adds:

“The distribution of high-quality metadata using various persistent identifiers is a great tool for advancing connections and the interlinking of scholarly content with other aspects of the ecosystem. We are delighted to support this community-led initiative for an open persistent identifier for research organizations to complement those we at eLife already use for content, peer review, data, people and funding.”

As we approach the end of the year, we are calling on our community to help ensure we will reach our goal. Contributions in any amount are welcome, and will go directly to support the registry’s growth and development. To start your contribution, email to make a pledge and request an invoice. There are other ways to contribute as well—by spreading the word about the campaign, by implementing and adopting ROR IDs, and by telling others why open scholarly communications infrastructure matters to you.

Thank you for supporting ROR!