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THOR – Technical and Human Infrastructure for Open Research

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - THOR (THOR – Technical and Human Infrastructure for Open Research)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

The THOR project contributes to establishing a sustainable international network of e-infrastructures for persistent identifiers that enables long-term access to critical information throughout the life cycle of research. This enables seamless integration between articles, data, and researcher information creating a wealth of open resources. The result will be enhanced reuse, economies of scale, richer research services, and new opportunities for innovation.
The project has four concrete aims:
1. Establishing interoperability,
2. Integrating services,
3. Building capacity, and
4. Achieving sustainability.
The project will meet these aims by defining relationships between contributors, research artefacts - with a focus on research data - and organisations. We will incorporate these relationships into the ORCID and DataCite systems. We will also expand existing linkages between different types of identifiers and versions of artefacts to improve interoperability across platforms and integrate ORCID iDs into production systems for article and data submission services in pilot communities and beyond.
The consortium will develop systems to embed new PID resolution techniques into existing services to support seamless direct access to artefacts, and in particular data. We will create services to allow associations between datasets, articles, contributors and organisations at the time of submission. Building on these, we will deliver the means to integrate trans-disciplinary PID services in community-specific platforms (in physics, earth and environmental sciences, life sciences, and the humanities), focussing on cross-linking, claiming mechanisms and data citation (guided by the FORCE 11 data citation principles).
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THOR and its partners provide interoperable services and APIs to enhance the use of persistent identifiers across the research life cycle. These can be categorised as follows:
1. Technical services:
a. Services for researchers. Any researcher anywhere is able to register, update, and maintain their own Open Researcher and Contributor IDentifier (ORCID) record. The identifier is linked to information about the researcher as well as their research outputs, funding, education and employment.
b. Services for data management. Data centres, e-infrastructure providers, libraries, and other organisations can register, update, and maintain information about research data that they manage. They can make it citable and discoverable using a resolvable Digital Object Identifier (DOI).
2. Interlinking services: The power of persistent identifiers comes from the rich ecosystem that can be built around them. Services can link a researcher to their research outputs, to organisations that they are or have been affiliated with, or to grants that have supported their work. They also include citation services and indices that link articles and data together, as well as notification services that alert people or systems about new connections, updates, and corrections.
3. Integrated services: These services are integrated to support third-parties as well as end-users. Examples include data citation platforms, current research information systems (CRIS), publisher workflows supporting peer-review and citation of data, institutional workflows sending data to external services and to international disciplinary repositories, funders linking projects to their research outputs, and more. The scope for these integrated services is enormous and an open area for innovation.

National and Regional e-Infrastructures
THOR partners provide services based on open standards through RESTful APIs that allow organizations and other service providers to connect their systems and applications. This open framework adds value to resolvable, interoperable PIDs, by offering a straightforward way for researchers, other research infrastructures and the widest possible commun
At the end of its first year, the THOR project is progressing well and is on target to achieve its objectives. Research efforts have advanced the state of the art and are having an operational impact. Innovative service developments have been rapidly deployed, and partner services are already being integrated into essential production services in life sciences, high energy physics, and earth and environmental sciences. Outreach events have engaged hundreds of people in Europe, North America, and Australasia, as well as touched many thousands across the globe on-line. External stakeholders have been additionally engaged via the Ambassador Program.

Technical Infrastructure
The main research goal during the year was to improve interoperability across persistent identifier (PID) services by identifying opportunities for harmonizing PID data models and overcoming barriers to interoperable PID platforms for contributors, artefacts and organisations, as well as proposing research solutions for federated attribution and claiming.
The main goal for our service implementation efforts was to integrate ORCIDs into data records and database systems and deploy this functionality in at least one database in production (Milestone 5). A second goal was to start work on developing services that support claiming of data sets in multiple workflows. All of this work was successfully performed. Indeed, we exceeded our goal by integrating ORCID authentication into five production services – two in the life-sciences, one in the earth and environmental sciences, and two in high energy physics (these last two will be deployed in the next production releases).
The technical objectives have been reached by:
• Identifying gaps in existing PID infrastructures, with a focus on ORCID and DataCite metadata and links between contributors, organizations and artefacts. We proposed strategies to bridge the gaps that prevent us from establishing interoperability and overcoming barriers between PID platforms. We also proposed research solutions for federated attribution, claiming, publishing, and direct data access.
• Describing the state of the art for persistent identifier linking in scholarly e-Infrastructure, with a focus on persistent identifiers for contributors and data. We looked at persistent identifier linking between datasets, for example different versions of the same data, as well as linking data with other resources, including articles, contributors, institutions, and funding information.
• Integrating ORCID iDs into production services in major databases at three different organisations and disciplines, namely EMBL-EBI for life sciences, PANGAEA for earth sciences, and CERN for high-energy physics. ORCID integration is enabling these services and databases to automatically link deposited datasets with the unique and persistent identifier of contributors, thus facilitating unambiguous credit for the production of datasets. We discuss the requirements, challenges and lessons learned in the deliverable D3.1.

Human Infrastructure
• Our outreach effort comprised the creation of a successful Ambassador Program, as well as several persistent identifier workshops, an organisation identifier workshop, an adopters’ workshop in the life sciences, an EC outreach collaboration workshop, dissemination activities throughout the year, as well as many small group consultation meetings on the use of persistent identifiers. We targeted national and international bodies, including euroCRIS, Knowledge Exchange, European Geosciences Union, the German National Library Congress, and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers. Our Knowledge Hub was launched as a portal to information about getting started with adopting and using persistent identifiers. The Knowledge Hub is live at
• Our Persistent Identifier Dashboard is live at It illustrates metrics for uptak
The THOR project will create a wealth of open resources and foster a sustainable international e-infrastructure. The result will be reduced duplication, economies of scale, richer research services, and opportunities for innovation.
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