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Celebrating five years of Grant IDs: where are we with the Crossref Grant Linking System?

We’re happy to note that this month, we are marking five years since Crossref launched its Grant Linking System. The Grant Linking System (GLS) started life as a joint community effort to create ‘grant identifiers’ and support the needs of funders in the scholarly communications infrastructure. The system includes a funder-designed metadata schema and a unique link for each award which enables connections with millions of research outputs, better reporting on the research and outcomes of funding, and a contribution to open science infrastructure.

Grant Linking System (GLS)

Ginny Hendricks, Thursday, Apr 25, 2024

In Research FundersGrants

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The Crossref Grant Linking System (GLS) is a service for research funders to contribute to open science infrastructure. As members of Crossref, funders create unique links and open metadata about their support of all kinds, from financial grants to prizes to use of facilities. This metadata is distributed at scale openly and globally and the unique links are acknowledged in any outputs of the funding, such as publications, preprints, data and code - in order to streamline the reporting process.

The more the merrier, or how more registered grants means more relationships with outputs

One of the main motivators for funders registering grants with Crossref is to simplify the process of research reporting with more automatic matching of research outputs to specific awards. In March 2022, we developed a simple approach for linking grants to research outputs and analysed how many such relationships could be established. In January 2023, we repeated this analysis to see how the situation changed within ten months. Interested? Read on!

How funding agencies can meet OSTP (and Open Science) guidance using existing open infrastructure

In August 2022, the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memo (PDF) on ensuring free, immediate, and equitable access to federally funded research (a.k.a. the “Nelson memo”). Crossref is particularly interested in and relevant for the areas of this guidance that cover metadata and persistent identifiers—and the infrastructure and services that make them useful. Funding bodies worldwide are increasingly involved in research infrastructure for dissemination and discovery.

Follow the money, or how to link grants to research outputs

The ecosystem of scholarly metadata is filled with relationships between items of various types: a person authored a paper, a paper cites a book, a funder funded research. Those relationships are absolutely essential: an item without them is missing the most basic context about its structure, origin, and impact. No wonder that finding and exposing such relationships is considered very important by virtually all parties involved. Probably the most famous instance of this problem is finding citation links between research outputs. Lately, another instance has been drawing more and more attention: linking research outputs with grants used as their funding source. How can this be done and how many such links can we observe?

Come and get your grant metadata!

Tl;dr: Metadata for the (currently 26,000) grants that have been registered by our funder members is now available via the REST API. This is quite a milestone in our program to include funding in Crossref infrastructure and a step forward in our mission to connect all.the.things. This post gives you all the queries you might need to satisfy your curiosity and start to see what’s possible with deeper analysis. So have the look and see what useful things you can discover.

Funders and infrastructure: let’s get building

Human intelligence and curiosity are the lifeblood of the scholarly world, but not many people can afford to pursue research out of their own pocket. We all have bills to pay. Also, compute time, buildings, lab equipment, administration, and giant underground thingumatrons do not come cheap. In 2017, according to statistics from UNESCO, $1.7 trillion dollars were invested globally in Research and Development. A lot of this money comes from the public - 22c in every dollar spent on R&D in the USA comes from government funds, for example.

Request for feedback on grant identifier metadata

We first announced plans to investigate identifiers for grants in 2017 and are almost ready to violate the first rule of grant identifiers which is “they probably should not be called grant identifiers”. Research support extends beyond monetary grants and awards, but our end goal is to make grants easy to cite, track, and identify, and ‘Grant ID’ resonates in a way other terms do not. The truth is in the metadata, and we intend to collect (and our funder friends are prepared to provide) information about a number of funding types.

Wellcome explains the benefits of developing an open and global grant identifier

Wellcome, in partnership with Crossref and several research funders including the NIH and the MRC, are looking to pilot an initiative in which new grants would be assigned an open, global and interoperable grant identifier. Robert Kiley (Open Research) and Nina Frentrop (Grants Operations) from the Wellcome explain the potential benefits this would deliver and how it might work.

Global Persistent Identifiers for grants, awards, and facilities

Crossref’s Open Funder Registry (neé FundRef) now includes over 15 thousand entries. Crossref has over 2 million metadata records that include funding information - 1.7 million of which include an Open Funder Identifier. The uptake of funder identifiers is already making it easier and more efficient for the scholarly community to directly link funding to research outputs, but lately we’ve been hearing from a number of people that the time is ripe for a global grant identifier as well.

To that end, Crossref convened its funder advisory group along with representatives from our collaborator organizations, ORCID and DataCite, to explore the creation of a global grant identifier system.

We thought you might like to know about what we’ve been discussing…