Editor’s note: Today’s post is co-authored by Mary Beth Barilla, Director of Business Development and Communications at NISO, and Scholarly Kitchen chef, Alice Meadows — Chairs of the PIDfest Marketing & Communications and Programme Committees respectively.

Persistent identifiers (PIDs) and their associated metadata are increasingly recognized as a vital component of research infrastructure, especially open research infrastructure. They enable the reliable, unique, and long-term identification of — and connections between — the people (e.g., researchers), places (e.g., institutions), and things (e.g., publications) in the research ecosystem. This, in turn, supports discovery, attribution and recognition, evaluation, interoperability, and more; open PIDs, in particular, help build trust in scholarly communications by making important information, such as provenance, transparent and openly available in their metadata. Crossref and DataCite digital object identifiers (DOIs) for research outputs, such as journal articles and datasets, are perhaps the best known and most ubiquitous PIDs, along with ORCID IDs for researchers and other contributors to research. Many publishers will also be familiar with Ringgold (now owned by the Copyright Clearance Center) identifiers for organizations that contain an (open) International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI). As of 2019, there is also an open PID for organizations — the Research Organization Registry (ROR) identifier. And of course, there are many other types of identifiers, both proprietary (think Scopus IDs or ResearcherIDs) and open (Handles, ARKs, and more).

One of the most powerful things about PIDs is that they are used by individuals and organizations across the entire search ecosystem — funders, institutions, libraries, publishers, service providers, and researchers themselves. They’re being integrated into systems from the very start of the research process (HR systems at hiring, grant funding systems at application, etc) to publication and beyond (content platforms, discovery systems, etc). Because they’re interoperable, they and the metadata they contain can flow seamlessly between these systems, saving time and reducing the risk of errors (among other benefits).

PIDFest logo over a picture of Prague

For all these reasons (and more), the last few years have seen an increased interest in PIDs, including at the national level, with several countries considering or actively developing PID strategies, as Alice has previously reported in the Kitchen. The charter of the recently formed Research Data Alliance (RDA) National PID Strategies Interest Group (IG), which grew out of an RDA working group on this topic, states that:

  • National PID Strategies are on the rise
  • There is no single ‘cookie cutter’ approach to developing a national PID strategy
  • Critical components of a strategy include:
    • A clear value proposition with use cases
    • A group or organization that is responsible for driving strategy development
    • An open, inclusive, iterative process that involves all stakeholders
  • An accompanying roadmap that outlines practical steps for implementation
  • Engagement between national PID strategies and PID providers is important for success

With a global PID community that is growing and diversifying, it’s increasingly important to ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for the individuals and organizations involved to collaborate with and learn from each other. From 2016–2021, PIDapalooza, the self-described Open Festival of Persistent Identifiers, offered one such opportunity. Hosted by Crossref, DataCite, ORCID, California Digital Library, and, latterly, NISO, it brought the community together for “two days of very full programming — fast and furious talks from all corners of the PID infrastructure and research landscape, with lots of interaction and time to converse…”. The last PIDapalooza took place virtually in January 2021, when most of us were still under Covid lockdown — since then, although PIDs have been on the agenda at numerous industry conferences, there hasn’t been another global PID-focused event.

So we’re excited to announce that two of the organizations driving the national strategies in their respective countries — the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) and the Czech National Library of Technology (NTK) — are joining forces to host a new in-person conference for the PID community! PIDfest will take place at NTK in Prague on June 11–13, 2024, bringing together PID advocates, users, and leaders from around the world, for three days of panels, plenaries, participant-led discussions, and problem-solving workshops. Registration will open shortly, and you can sign up for updates here.

PIDfest is a volunteer-led event; it will cover a wide range of PID-related topics, including:

  • PIDs 101/PID basics
  • Case studies/lessons learned, both technical and social (both successes and failures)
  • PID strategies and policies (general)
  • National PID strategies
  • Novel uses of PIDs and emerging PIDs
  • Persistence and sustainability of PIDs
  • Technical applications of PIDs
  • PID value propositions
  • PIDs at scale (in research workflows and infrastructure globally)
  • PID-enabled connections
  • Beyond PIDs—metadata and schema
  • And more…

The call for proposals is now open through February 23, 2024, and we strongly encourage and welcome ideas for sessions that encompass and reflect a range of perspectives (eg, by profession, location, career stage, gender, etc).

Alice Meadows

Alice Meadows

I am a Co-Founder of the MoreBrains Cooperative, a scholarly communications consultancy with a focus on open research and research infrastructure. I have many years experience of both scholarly publishing (including at Blackwell Publishing and Wiley) and research infrastructure (at ORCID and, most recently, NISO, where I was Director of Community Engagement). I’m actively involved in the information community, and served as SSP President in 2021-22. I was honored to receive the SSP Distinguished Service Award in 2018, the ALPSP Award for Contribution to Scholarly Publishing in 2016, and the ISMTE Recognition Award in 2013. I’m passionate about improving trust in scholarly communications, and about addressing inequities in our community (and beyond!). Note: The opinions expressed here are my own

Mary Beth Barilla

Mary Beth Barilla is Program Director for the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP). She is also a former co-chair of SSP’s Annual Meeting Program Committee and a winner of the 2017 SSP Appreciation Award.