Research grants

Launched in 2019, our registration service for grants allows funders and the wider research community to connect support with outputs and activities.

Background

Whilst the scholarly community has adopted standard persistent identifiers (PIDs)—for people (e.g. ORCID), content (e.g. DOIs, PMIDs), and now organizations (ROR) including funders (Open Funder Registry)—the record of the award was not captured in a consistent way across funders worldwide. These awards were not easily linked up with the literature or with researchers or with institutions.

With tens of thousands of funding organizations in the Open Funder Registry, we needed to find a way for all of them—small and large, private and government—to register their grants, whilst making it easy for researchers to include this information in their submissions to publishers and data repositories.

For this to work more smoothly and accurately, we need grant identifiers. Our Funder Advisory Group worked from 2017 to 2019 to create such a system on a global scale. Part of that work was to agree on a sustainability model along the lines of our current approach for Content Registration of articles and books, and to decide to build a widget that will allow manuscript tracking and measurement systems to integrate grant identifiers.

Robert Kiley and Nina Frentrop of Wellcome explain in their guest blog post their vision for an open and global grant identifier system:

Currently, researchers are typically asked to manually disclose what outputs have arisen from their funding. In the future, such disclosures would be fully automated. We are already seeing how publishers—who collect ORCIDs through their manuscript submission system—automatically update the author’s ORCID record with details of new publications. [With a global ID system for grants], publishers and repositories could also require these to be disclosed on submission, and this data could then programmatically be passed to researcher assessment platforms, like ResearchFish.

Benefits

When funder register research grants with Crossref, they join the rest of our member metadata, bringing benefits for everyone from funders, researchers, publishers and institutions to platforms and tools.

  1. Paint a richer picture of research support

    • Understand connections between projects and collaborators
    • Identify pockets of expertise and emerging areas of activity
    • Fill in gaps in the map of the research landscape with new data points and better quality information
  2. Maintain a healthier research environment

    • Less duplication of effort in overlapping grants or repeated projects
    • Ask “who paid?” and check for any possible conflicts of interest in review and reading
    • Understand the impact of funding on career development and activities
  3. Easier, more accurate analysis

    • Search for grants, or for investigators, projects or organizations associated with grants
    • Track the impact of funding shared infrastructures and facilities
    • Simplify the process of research reporting with automatic matching of outputs to grants
+- Benefits for funders

During research management (primarily coming from activity reporting):

  • Improved analytics and data quality
  • More complete picture of outputs and impact
  • Better value from investments in reporting services
  • Improved timeliness, completeness and accuracy of reporting
  • More complete information to support analysis and evaluation
  • Streamlined discovery of funded content

During reporting and evaluation (with a special component for policy compliance):

  • Better information about publication pathways and policy compliance
  • Better/more comprehensive data about the impact and outcomes of their policies
  • Improved data on policy compliance
  • Improved data on policy progress and impact
  • Streamlined discovery of funded content
  • Better understanding of the effects of investments on the research landscape
  • Clearer data on impact and ‘ROI’ for facility/infrastructure investments
  • Improved analysis and evidence of outcomes of career support
  • Improved publication ethics and research integrity (COIs, funding transparency etc.)
  • Improved picture of long-term ROI and impact
+- Benefits for content hosts

Content hosts include publishers, data repositories, and hosting platforms

  • Improved publication ethics and research integrity
  • Improved services to authors
  • Improved transparency on content access
  • More connections within and between platforms and content
  • New platform opportunities and value added services
  • Reduced administrative and information management/verification overhead
  • New value add services
  • Greater ecosystem integration
  • Improved user experiences
+- Benefits for research organizations

This includes benefits for research administrators and managers, resource managers, project managers, and institutional policy makers.

Research administrators and managers benefit from:

  • Opportunities to provide additional effective and constructive support for proposal preparation (pre-award)
  • Find it easier to perform due diligence (pre-award)
  • Reduced overhead in data collection (research management)
  • Reduced overhead in compliance and data checking (research management)
  • Reduced time/effort and improved data quality (reporting and evaluation)
  • Improved evidence for decision making (reporting and evaluation)
  • Better evidence for career and organisational impact (reporting and evaluation)

Resource managers benefit from:

  • Better intelligence on funding sources and dynamics (pre-award)
  • Better understanding of who is using their facilities (research management)
  • Clearer links to downstream benefits of their work and provision (reporting and evaluation)
  • Improved reporting/analysis capacity (reporting and evaluation)
  • Improved data quality (research management)
  • Simplified data sharing (research management)

Institutional policy makers and strategists benefit from:

  • Understanding funder portfolios to improve grant targeting (pre-award)
  • Reduced data gathering overhead and improved intelligence about their portfolio of outputs (research management)
  • Richer understandings of their research activity portfolio (research management)
  • Better management of APC budgets (research management)
  • Greater insight and evidence for stronger strategic planning (research management)
  • More complete information to support analysis and evaluation (reporting and evaluation)
  • Improved analytics and data quality (reporting and evaluation)
  • Better understanding of outcomes of studentships and postdoctoral positions (reporting and evaluation)
  • Improved connections to alumni (reporting and evaluation)
  • Better data for benchmarking (reporting and evaluation)
+- Benefits for researchers

In applying for funding, researchers benefit from:

  • Reduced data entry and improved reusability of information in applications
  • Better tailored institutional support
  • Improved targeting and design of career supporting interventions from funders
  • Improved review
  • Easier completion of applications

In conducting research, researchers can benefit from:

  • Boosted current awareness
  • Easier access to facilities
  • Reduced administrative overhead

In publishing researchers benefit as authors and as readers from:

  • Shorter publication delays
  • Simplified acknowledgement processes
  • Critical awareness of any potential bias
  • Richer context and simplified discovery
  • Reduced uncertainty and administration around policy compliance

In reporting on their activities to funders:

  • Improved reporting experiences
  • A shift from data collation/entry to verification
  • Easier acknowledgement of support for their careers

In building their careers:

  • Boosted impact and enhanced visibility
  • As collaborators, from better understanding of the contributions of others and improved recognition for their own contributions
  • Clearer, more complete and complex career records
  • Enhanced career recognition and support
  • More diverse data sources for recognition and reward

At every stage, the core benefits for researchers include:

  • Better career representations and reputational enhancement
  • Simplified administration, reporting and application processes with reduced overhead and duplication of effort
  • Better intelligence about research support and future opportunities for funding and collaboration

Membership & fees

Funders who would like to register their research grants should apply to join as a member. Membership comes with obligations to maintain the metadata record for the long term; our membership terms sets these out. You will also be able to participate in Crossref governance such as voting in or standing for our annual board elections. Joining is via a form and a click-through agreement to minimise paperwork. Your first year’s membership invoice needs to be settled before a DOI prefix is assigned and your grant registrations can begin.

Membership of Crossref can be layered; you could join directly, or under a Sponsor such as Europe PMC who handles the technical side of things on your behalf. We have a dedicated fee structure for funders which allows for a much lower annual membership fee (from $200 to $1200 depending on annual award value) and a higher per record fee of $2 for current grants and $0.30 for older grants. This allows the cost to be budgeted into the grant itself if desired, rather than using often non-existent administration or operations budgets. Please see our fees page for more information.

Getting started

If you’re reading this far you must be about ready to get going. You’ll be joining Wellcome, Japan Science & Technology Agency, Smithsonian, OSTI (DOE), and many other Crossref funder members. Welcome aboard!

  1. You need to be a member in order to register grants with us; please sign up as described above.
  2. Once you’re a member, take a look at our grant metadata schema.
  3. Look at your internal data and identifiers and start to map your own data to our xml metadata schema.
  4. Communicate with your grant submission systems, awardees, and other parties to let them know you will be supporting Crossref grant identifiers and that they should plan to start collecting these identifiers too.
  5. Decide who will do the xml creation for you. You may already be able to export in XML already but you’ll likely need to do some internal mapping of fields. You may choose to outsource this like many of our members.
  6. Decide which grants to register first to get in the swing of things, for example a pilot for a particular country or area of support.
  7. Note that the first rule of Crossref grant records is that they can be registered for all sorts of support for research, such as awards, use of facilities, sponsorship, training, or salary awards. Essentially any form of support provided to a research group.
  8. We advise it’s better to start with newly-awarded grants, and then next up (soon) start to look at registering your older or long-running awards (these can be registered at a reduced cost and they are also more likely to have produced research papers so they’ll be great for demonstrating the full potential of connected research metadata).
  9. Consult the Content Registration guide, and proceed to register your first grant!
  10. Consider whether and how to participate in Crossref membership benefits. Make sure you sign up for our bi-monthy newsletter to stay up-to-date, and ensure you vote in our board elections each year in October-November.

Please contact our membership specialist with any questions about joining, or our technical support specialists with questions about the grants schema or how to register your grants.

Last Updated: 2019 September 17 by Ginny Hendricks