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Persistent Identifiers


Persistent Identifiers 

Engaging in open research can create wider audiences for publications. To make it easier to share, and to verify who has created research publications, there are a number of persistent identifiers available. Publishers and funders will often request PIDs to be used when submitting proposals, and sharing outputs. 

Persistent identifiers are generally applied to unique entities, like people, organisations or individual publications, and 

  • include metadata about the entity,
  • are digital,
  • are actionable, so that you can create a persistent link to a digital record for the entity,
  • don’t change. You can use a persistent identifier without having to worry about changes in website databases that result in dead links. 

The organisations running registries of persistent identifiers usually have subscribers in the form of research organisations like the University of Wolverhampton to pay for continued service. 

Most persistent identifiers are international standards, or are in the process of applying for international standard status. 

Orcid logo


Open Researcher and Contributer ID (ORCID) is a persistent identifier for individual researchers. It is particularly useful for name disambiguation if there are other researchers you share a name with, but can also be used to tie your complete corpus of research publications together through an ORCID profile. 

ORCIDs are used in a number of systems, including funder and publisher systems, but also Elements, the university’s research information system. This means that you can take advantage of automatic workflows that will harvest publication information from other databases to populate profiles, rather than having to add new records manually to every system you use. 

Researchers are encouraged to sign up for a free ORCID profile. While it might take time to set up your profile (particularly if you have published a lot of research), it will save you time in the long run through integrations with other systems. 

Your ORCID moves with you, should you change organisation, meaning you don’t have to start from scratch. ORCID profiles are expanding to include information about education and employment histories too, which makes use of research organisation identifiers (as seen below). 

Other name identifiersISNI, the International Standards Name Identifier, applies a unique identifier to individuals across a range of fields, including authors, singers and researchers. It is automatically disseminated through the global supply chain, but is not usually used in researcher systems. 

Other researcher IDs: Web of Science ResearcherID and Scopus Author ID: These are generated automatically and limited to use within the Web of Science and Scopus platforms and associated products. It is recommended that you check these to ensure the publications assigned to you are correct. Both can be tied to an ORCID to allow easy updating of profiles. 


Digital Object Identifier (DOI) can be used to identify a unique publication. Many journals and data repositories use these identifiers. DOIs also provide persistent URLs, the DOI will always link to the current webpage if a journal changes the links on its website. DOIs can also be used by services tracking social media interaction and to improve citation tracking. DOIs are an extension of the Handle system (see below). 

DOIs are usually assigned by publishers and repositories, so no action is required on behalf of the author. CrossRef and DataCite are examples of agencies that provide registries for DOIs for journals and repositories. They have search interfaces that allow people to search for specific DOIs and see publisher information for that DOI. 

Increasingly DOIs are being used for long form publications like eBooks and online reference works when access is supplied via a specific publisher platform. 

With a DOI, you can easily pull citation metadata for your publications into systems like referencing software and research profiles like ORCID. You can also use them to easily share links to your publications, and to track interaction with your work through platforms like Altmetric or PlumX Metrics. It also overcomes issues of authors misquoting the title of a work or the publication it appears in. 

Other object IDs: Handles are an international registry of identifiers for internet resources. WIRE uses the Handle system to provide persistent identifiers for its entries. Handles lack metadata that can be associated with DOIs. Preprints usually do not use DOIs, but many preprint servers have ID systems like ArxivID. 

 ROR icon


Research Organisation Registry (ROR) IDs are provided for Research Organisations, such as universities, research institutes, or funders. ROR consolidates other organisation identifiers to provide metadata about the organisation, such as its geographic location and relationship to other organisations, and are interoperable with a number of systems. ROR succeeds and integrates the GRID identifier which retires this year. 

Using a ROR ID can help overcome issues of organisations being known by different forms of their name such as if a co-author based at another institution recorded a University of Wolverhampton affiliation as Wolverhampton University, and therefore help verify precisely which organisation a researcher is working for. 

Some systems make ask for, or apply ROR IDs to your affiliations to ensure details are correct and make it easier to retrieve all research produced by that organisation. Bibliographic databases use ROR IDs to make it easier to search for all research sponsored by a specific funder or institution. 

Other organisational IDs: ISNI can be used to identify organisations, as well as individuals. Ringgold is an ISNI registry agency for research organisations that also supplies their own IDs. Ringgold IDs are used in the global supply chain, and includes structured metadata about the organisation. 


To sum up, the use of persistent identifiers can help researchers save time transferring data into employer, funder and publisher systems, and can mean that the researcher only needs to update their publication history in one place. It also makes it easier to ensure the correct data is recorded, and credit given to the correct researcher. 


Stuart Bentley 
Scholarly Communications Librarian 


IMAGE: Who Are You? Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash Free to use under Unsplash licence 

ORCID ID badge – free to use 

ROR logo – free to use 

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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