What standards matter and why

March 17, 2017


At the Researcher to Reader Conference ( R2R)  21-22 Feb 2017 we held a Workshop on ‘Which Standards Matter and Why.’ This is the second time I’ve attended the conference and two things stood out for me again – the mix of Publishers and Librarians and the enthusiasm and hard work of the delegates for the workshops. The former is very refreshing as it creates an environment for some of the contentious issues around OA publishing in particular to be discussed in less adversarial terms than happens perhaps online via blogs and mailing lists.

The workshop posed the question in relation to existing, emerging and missing standards : ‘How can research libraries, publishers and their intermediaries co-operate to solve some of the ‘pain points’ in rapidly evolving scholarly communications processes?’

We had 29 attendees from publishing, libraries, technical/standards bodies, and others.


We held 3 meetings over the two days of the conference:

Meeting 1 : Setting Scene – Collecting information – a post-it exercise to identify, describe and gauge awareness in/usage of as many standards as we could.

We collected standards in categories including Identifiers, Definitions; Lists/Taxonomies; Data Models; Policies & Other.

What was clear from the group was that Identifiers were the most well known and there is high engagement with ORCID, DOI/Crossref and ISBN/ISNI but split engagement across the various Organisational Identifier initiatives i.e. ISNI, RINGGOLD & Digital Science’s GRID.  The  FundREF finding is also interesting as many people are thinking about using/planning to use it, but none yet are.

Meeting 2: Standards in publishing process; usage and gaps/pain points

We concentrated on journal article publishing given that this was the process familiar to most of our participants. This was simplified down to the following basic steps:

With the payment  positioned somewhere along the line …. and here we mean paying APCs.  

Pain Points : Where standards could help in the (article) publishing process
Submit Review Publish Payment
No consistency of instructions to authors Identifying reviewers and being able to check they are who they say they are (certify);  no robust registry of reviewers Many different licences misunderstood by authors Difficult to determine who pays
No standard information requirements for manuscript submission Review process is based on original paper-based one – to- one process rather than a collaborative process taking advantage of new technology No standard information requirements for acceptance notification to authors No standard information requirements for invoice – critical for efficient process and quality data
No open persistent ID allocated at submission Little/no? recognition of Reviewer role  – although issues around blindness Not all deposits to pubmed are automated Different publisher models/offers – lack of transparency at point in process required
Inconsistent times across sector for process – should there be standards we adhere to i.e. review within x days? No consistent link to pre-print where it exists online Lots of point to point interactions; many publishers with many journals dealing with many many authors and many libraries.
Reviewer training – standards?

Meeting 3: Priorities & Actions

Identifying what standards relevant or required to relieve the ‘pain points’. The solutions we discussed divided into three broad categories:  (i) further use cases for existing standards. (ii)  working groups to tackle missing standards around key exchange points and (iii) broader guidance/best practice development.

So looking at identifiers – where can these be further embedded in the process?

  1. DOI – allocate as early as possible so why not at manuscript submission? Ok it may not be published by that publisher or even at all but is that really a problem compared to the advantage of having a persistent identifier allocated up front to ease the workflow down the line?  Note : Crossref and Datacite are the two main places scholarly content is registered to get DOI.
  2. ORCID – require reviewers to have an ORCID – to help ensure are who they say they are and give context. Interestingly after the workshop I then saw the blog post at ttps://orcid.org/blog/2016/09/22/recognizereview-orcid
  3. Organisation ID – no single standard established yet – needs to be. Work is progressing in this area see https://www.crossref.org/blog/the-organization-identifier-project-a-way-forward/
  4. Crossref Funding Data (formerly FundREF) – related to 3 to get organisational identifiers but also need authority file for grant/project references as reporting needs to be to the project level not just the funder.

And what about new standards?  Two areas stood out:

  1. Standard information required for APC invoice – initial thoughts from the group:
  • DOI (should be created early – why not on submission?)
  • ORCID for (at least) corresponding author
  • Institutional identifier for (at least) corresponding author – ISNI or Ringgold or GRID
  • ISSN
  • Publisher identifier – ISNI or Ringgold or GRID?
  • Itemised – APC, page charges, colour charges
  • Funder identifier/s – Crossref Funding Data (https://www.crossref.org/community/funders/)
  • Project identifier/s
  1. Standard information required for manuscript submission.

And, finally the broader guideline development:

  1. Reviewer training – we heard at the conference plenary that several publishers do provide this; it would be good to know more about what they do and whether best practice guidelines are available to share.
  2. Instructions to authors & expected standards of service; what is expected from the author and what they will receive in return included expected timeframes, technical requirements, funder compliance alignment, costs ….

Much of what we found came as no surprise  – areas such as need for persistent Organisation Identifiers – and work is underway involving the wider research sector.  But some are things that have not yet started to be addressed and there was a real expression from the workshop that these should be tackled through a mechanism such as a CASRAI working group or similar.

We welcome feedback and offers to help take any of the above forward as this needs to be done collaboratively.

Full unreport at http://bit.ly/2maXSt9

Anna Clements, Valerie McCutcheon, Tony O’Rourke, Iris Nord, Duncan Campbell, Stefanie Horsmann, Britt-Marie Wideberg, Lucy Lambe, Cecilia Heyman Widmark, Ross MacIntyre, Luisa Gaggini, Luke Davies, Cathy Holland, Ed Pentz, Sarah Bull, Jessica Rutt, Greta Boonen, Charlotte Coyte,  Gareth Malcolm, Graham Walton, Judy Russell, Ginger Strader Minkiewicz, Susan King, Howard Ratner,  Laura Cox, Natalia Timiraos, Christine Buckley, Anji Clarke, Sally Rumsey



Reopening this Blog 2017

March 6, 2017

We are reopening this blog to help share information about activities around managing research outputs and outcomes.   Much of the older information is still relevant.

Project Meeting 19th June 2013

June 20, 2013

We had our project team meeting yesterday.  The project is due to end 31st July 2013.


  • Updating CERIF information and interlinkage with other current initiatives in the UK/Europe and beyond
  • Specifying and building demo of PURE data registry functionality
  • Enhancing Glasgow ePrints data registry – new server, buying Datacite (not sure if we will have fully deployed by end of July but will have explored further and have a plan),
  • On-going work on data storage requirements, advocacy, updating policies and plans
  • Planning our workshops – one is booked for 12th July in Glasgow and will be advertised widely in the next day or two.  The other will be roughly the same content at a more southern venue – possibly London and possibly 25 or 26th July tbc shortly


  • Awaiting award letter for extension so have been a bit cautious about spending
  • Most of the costs expected are for software, hardware and travel and consumables for workshops and events


Blog Closed

June 10, 2013

This blog is closed.


If you wish to discuss any topics on the blog please contact valerie.mccutcheon@glasgow.ac.uk

Open Repositories 2012

July 13, 2012

We ‘re-used’ our ‘Engage’ poster http://researchclusters.wordpress.com from the ARMA conference duly updated with additional information for the audience at OR2012.

We got to do a short sales pitch on our poster and I tweeted the link to our blog with the conference hash tag #OR2012 for those interested who could not make the poster reception.

After the two hour poster reception the posters were on display throughout the conference. We provided handouts and information on all of our current JISC projects Cerif for Datasets, Cerif in Action, IRIOS2 and Encapsulate. We ran out of some of them. I spoke to some – but not all of the 460 or so delegates as well as noting contact details and exchanging information of relevance with other authors of over 60 poster. There are some very interesting links to all of our projects (see my forthcoming blog entry on C4D, Engage and IRIOS projects for relevant comments).





RCUK Outcomes System – Comments

September 14, 2011

Attached my high level comments from my RCUK Outcomes System testing.  Template is as supplied by RCUK.

Will be discussing with peers from the PURE UK User Group tomorrow and will report back any interesting points.

RCUK Outcomes System – Observations

RCUK Outcomes System Testing

August 17, 2011

Hi All,

Just started doing some testing of the RCUK outcomes system.  Some initial thoughts that will be included in my feedback to RCUK and I expect they will publish a summary of feedback and future plans:

  • Bulk upload is only currently available per award and only for outcome types publication and conference so this is very limited use
  • Online definitions require a bit of rooting about to determine where certain information should go and there is potential overlap
  • Concern over staff development data – people might inadvertently fill in something that is inaccurate or inappropriate – I am seeking advice from our HR department

I will look forward to moving towards an efficient solution to this requirement.  At present I am not sure how we will minimise burden on staff and ensure useful information is provided to Research Council’s but thought process and discussion is on-going.