New to PIDs? Consult the frequently asked questions below for an introduction!
Research generates a huge amount of information about people, places, and things (like publications or datasets) across siloed software systems, including institutional, regional, or national grant application systems and repositories.
A PID is a long-lasting unique digital code that points to those entities (i.e., people, places, or things) in the research ecosystem. Without PIDs, each entity can be confused with others, like people who share a name. Unlike URLs, which may break, PIDs reliably point to a digital entity across borders, disciplines, time, and systems. PIDs support Canadian institutions in meeting the goals of open science, including the FAIR Principles, which are explicit about the use of PIDs. Most entities are not currently connected or interoperable, meaning they are not easily findable or connected to associated entities. Scholars and staff waste time entering and re-entering (and disambiguating) the same information in different systems that lack interoperability when researchers would rather focus on research.
PIDs reliably and predictably disambiguate entities, leading to cost efficiencies and greater discovery by:
- Providing a long-lasting unique reference and connection to a digital entity over time, even if it changes name or URL. PIDs help resolve the question of identity confusion and connectedness.
- Enabling a framework for finding entities described by a PID and doing something with them. Increasing PID integrations ensures scholars and institutions save critical time and resources.
- Codifying the ways in which systems interoperate, ensuring alignment and use of PID infrastructure through national approaches and strategies that are interoperable internationally.
CRKN supports two member driven PID consortia:
CRKN is the administrative lead for ORCID-CA, partnering with the Alliance to jointly manage DCAN. Membership in both consortia consists of Canadian universities, government departments, research centres, journal publishers, and more. ORCID-CA has 43 members and DCAN has 59 members as of September 2022. Momentum for PIDs development in Canada has recently been driven by the work of the Canadian Persistent Identifier Advisory Committee (CPIDAC), composed of a broad range of Canadian stakeholders including funders, universities, government, infrastructure organizations, and library consortia. The CPIDAC, supported by CRKN and the Alliance, acts in the interests of the Canadian scholarly community to provide expertise and advice to the ORCID-CA and DCAN governing committees on leveraging maximum benefits through national adoption and use of PIDs.
Persistence is not inherent without the collaborative work of organizations that maintain PIDs, which require support from the broader research community. Community-driven PIDs managed by global not-for-profits in partnership with local stakeholders ensure that PIDs and the systems that rely on them remain open, non-proprietary, sustainable, and responsive to research community needs. National funding for existing PID initiatives in Canada (like the ORCID-CA and DataCite Canada Consortia), and funds to develop other infrastructure and a national strategy for PIDs, will ensure appropriate stewardship of Canadian research. A national approach to PIDs ensures broad Canadian availability of these services, at each institution, which maximizes benefit and encourages adoption and innovation. The value of PIDs can only be realized when a sustainable support system drives the adoption and use of PIDs. Other countries, like the UK and Australia, have already begun to develop National PID Strategies; Canada must too.