The funder identification pseudo-problem

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 31 14:44:32 EDT 2014


I hope EDINA, Jisc, RCUK, HEFCE, Chygrove Ltd as well as OpenAIRE will also
try to harmonize with US Funding Agencies: Open Access is a global matter.

Best wishes, Stevan

On Sat, May 31, 2014 at 1:39 PM, Paul Walk <paul at> wrote:

> On a general note:
> I agree that the bottom-up, repository-mediated approach to attaching
> information about funder and grant/project to OA outputs is feasible and,
> it seems to me, the preferred approach.
> On a more specific note:
> It should be noted that the OpenAIRE approach to identifying the
> grant/project is well-designed for EU-funded projects, but does not so
> easily accommodate other funders (e.g. UK Research Council). This was
> discussed on this list last year [^1]
> EDINA is working with Jisc, RCUK, HEFCE and Chygrove Ltd (as well as
> repository software suppliers) to develop a metadata application-profile
> better suited (but not restricted to) the identification of UK funders and
> projects.
> Details about this can be found at [^2] but please note that we are
> working on a significant revision to this to which should be published for
> comment in June.
> We remain in close contact with OpenAIRE (having discussed this at the
> COAR/OpenAIRE meeting last week) and have agreed to work closely to ensure
> that we can achieve the best possible, mutual interoperability.
> Regards
> Paul
> [^1]:
> [^2]:
> On 31 May 2014, at 16:22, Stevan Harnad <amsciforum at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> > On Sat, May 31, 2014 at 8:48 AM, David Wojick <dwojick at>
> wrote:
> >
> > > The idea that the authors identify the funding subprogram is clear.
> The problem is how to do that in a universally uniform way so the data can
> be properly aggregated across all authors and articles?
> >
> > By using the institutional repository metadata tagging scheme that
> Openaire has already designed for the EU, as Kathleen Shearer just noted in
> her posting.
> >
> > This can be implemented with the help of CRISes and CERIF in conformity
> with CASRAI -- and it would be an excellent idea if the US and EU
> collaborated convergently on this, "harmonizing" their policies rather than
> diverging and going their own ways, since Public/Open Access is a global
> goal.
> >
> >>  But note that the specific goal of US Public Access Policy is that
> each fundee should make each article resulting from US Federal funding Open
> Access within the designated time frame, crediting the funder.
> >
> > That is accomplished by each fundee making each article resulting from
> US Federal funding OA within the designated time frame -- by (1) depositing
> each article in their institutional repository along with (2) metadata tags
> specifying the funding source and  (3) by making the deposit OA within the
> allowable embargo period.
> >
> > The part about  "do[ing] that in a universally uniform way so the data
> can be properly aggregated across all authors and articles" is a secondary
> desideratum on the agenda (and can be  accomplished with the help of the
> Openaire scheme).
> >
> > But let's not let the tail wag the dog...
> >
> >> (Plus there are cases where the authors may not know.)
> >
> > Fundees (and their institutions) not knowing who is funding them? not
> knowing to whom they made the grant application? not knowing who informed
> them they were funded? not knowing the provenance of the cheques? not
> knowing whom to send the progress reports and final reports to?
> >
> > If there are any such foggy cases, they are probably rare enough not to
> have a significant effect on the overall implementation plan.
> >
> >> That is what the FundRef funder taxonomy is trying to do but it is not
> simple. By the way, at the just happened SSP annual meeting it was
> announced that CHORUS and SHARE will collaborate on a funder notification
> system. This may help.
> >
> > Data can and should of course be SHAREd. Publishers too can of course
> harvest metadata from IRs.
> >
> > But on no account should publishers be entrusted to run the show, in the
> implementation of the US Public Access Policy. The source of the
> funding-source data is the funders (top-down) and the fundees and their
> institutions (bottom-up).
> >
> > And these are perfectly capable of doing and storing their own
> record-keeping! Publishers (and CHORUS) having nothing whatsoever to do
> with it.
> >
> >>  Reconfiguring the agency contract data systems to include subprogram
> data is probably not feasible. It would be a big job and the agencies are
> not that interested in access. Their challenge is spending the money. Most
> consider public access a chore, especially since there is no funding for
> it, perhaps even a threat because it will lead to new kinds of performance
> assessment.
> >
> > Fine. The agencies are not intrinsically interested in access. They just
> have to fulfill their mandate (just as fundees do), which has now become
> not just to fund research but also to make it a condition of the funding
> that the resulting articles must be made OA.
> >
> > So each funder now stipulates to each fundee that one of the conditions
> for receiving the funding is now that it must be deposited in the fundee's
> institutional repository (and made OA within the allowed embargo window).
> >
> > It then becomes the reponsibility of the fundee to comply, and the
> responsibility of the fundee's institution to ensure that the fundee
> complies -- by depositing the article and its funder-idenifying metadata in
> the IR and making it OA within the allowable window. All IR deposits are
> time-stamped by the IR software; so is the date the deposit is made OA.
> >
> > So the optimal system is for the fundee to deposit the final refereed
> draft of each article, together with its funder metadata, on the date it is
> accepted for publication (the acceptance letter can be deposited alongside
> it too, in closed access) and to make the deposit OA either immediately
> (for the 60% of publishers that do not embargo OA) or when the allowable
> publisher embargo has elapsed.
> >
> > That in essence is all there is to it: The agency fulfills its
> obligations, the fundee institution fulfills its obligations, and the
> fundees fulfill their obligations under the US Public Access Policy -- and
> not only is OA provided (at the latest) after allowable embargoes have
> elapsed, but "Almost-OA" can be provided immediately as of deposit, with
> the help of each IR's Copy-Request Button.
> >
> > Please keep this as simple and feasible as it really is, rather than
> adding far-fetched worries about whether fundees and their institutions
> really know who their funders are (of course they do!) and whether the
> funder metadata can be matched with the article deposit (of course it can!).
> >
> > Stevan Harnad
> >
> >
> > On May 30, 2014, at 8:26 PM, Stevan Harnad <amsciforum at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> >
> >> Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
> >> On Fri, May 30, 2014 at 5:58 PM, David Wojick <dwojick at>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> Stevan, you seem to think that I am advocating for a publisher based
> solution but I am not. I am simply trying to find a good program design. In
> fact I think CHORUS has wandered away from that design, to the point where
> the funding agencies may not try to use it.
> >>
> >> Well that much is very welcome news!
> >>
> >> But as for the funder identification problem, it is far from trivial.
> What you describe below does not work. There is at present no simple way to
> tell which program funded the research that led to a given article. The
> grant information does not include this data. How then shall it be created
> (and made uniform)? This is a deep problem.
> >>
> >> David, I can only repeat: The author of the article (at the very least)
> -- and hence also the author's institution -- know exactly where they got
> the funding (program, subprogram, grants officer, everything). And they are
> very eager to credit their funders for their article output, to justify the
> funding, to get the next grant instalment, and for renewal or new grant
> applications.
> >>
> >> In the bottom-up option (2), they simply add a metadata tag for the
> funding's program/subprogram (in addition to metadata tag for the
> grant-contract-and-number) in the IR along with the article.
> >>
> >> In the perhaps more sensible option (1), the US Federal funders of
> research create a database that links their own grant-contract-and-numbers
> with their own program/subprogram identifiers (and then the IR need only
> tag the grant-contract-and-number).
> >>
> >> No need for publishers to do any of that. And I don't know why you are
> suggesting it's such a big deal: There are a finite number of US Federal
> funding agencies, program/subprograms, grant-contract-and-number, and all
> the information is know and a matter of record. They have the data; they
> need only systematically integrate it into a database.
> >>
> >> Alternatively, authors/institutions can do it distributedly.
> >>
> >> In neither case is it a big deal.
> >>
> >> It only appears like a problem if you look at it from the publisher's
> viewpoint, where authors are only in the habit of crediting their
> grant-contract-and-number in the acknowledgements sections of their
> articles, rather than giving fuller source information.
> >>
> >> But authors and their institutions have the fuller information. And
> effective convergent funder and institutional mandates (to deposit in the
> institutional repository) together with simple, systematic compliance
> monitoring procedures will ensure that all the requisite metadata are
> deposited with the article.
> >>
> >> Moreover, how this funder identification problem is solved will
> probably dictate the form of the US Public Access program.
> >>
> >> Well, we've made some progress: It won't be the publishers' CHORUS
> doing it. That's a  non-started, and has been all along.
> >>
> >> Now the choice is between top-down, centrally (1) and bottom-up,
> distributedly (2).
> >>
> >> Maybe it's easiest to start bottom-up, distributedly
> (authors/institutions) and then the funders can harvest the pairs of
> grant-contract-and-number and program/subprogram metadata tags in the the
> IRs for all of their articles in order to build up a central database of
> their own.
> >>
> >> (This institutional-deposit/central harvesting (or institutional
> export) procedure is by far the optimal mechanism for all article metadata
> in the IRs and also, if desired, for the full-texts.)
> >>
> >> Stevan Harnad
> >>
> >> On May 30, 2014, at 5:07 PM, Stevan Harnad <amsciforum at GMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> >>
> >>> Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
> >>> On Fri, May 30, 2014 at 2:39 PM, David Wojick <
> dwojick at> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Stevan, what you describe sounds somewhat like the SHARE program,
> which is one of the emerging proposed mechanisms for the US Public Access
> program. See my
> from a year ago.
> >>>
> >>> David, "SHARE" is of course much better than CHORUS because it leaves
> access-provision in the hands of the universities and research institutions
> rather than journal publishers. And "SHARE" really just means that the IRs
> do it rather than the publishers.
> >>>
> >>> But I certainly don't agree that the following is any problem
> whatsoever:
> >>>
> >>> SHARE has its own specific problems, as does CHORUS. But as far as
> funder identification goes, SHARE and CHORUS share the problem. This is
> because the grant information that institutions get does not identify the
> specific funding program. For example, in DOE the grant contract and grant
> number merely say that the grant is from the Office of Science, which funds
> about $5 billion a year. Which of their many programs and sub-programs
> funded a given grant is not specified. So the institution still has to get
> that information from the author, just as the publisher does. And the
> resulting data must be uniform across all institutions, just as with all
> CHORUS publishers.
> >>>
> >>> So the grant-contract-and-number does not specify the program and
> subprogram. But the specific funder certainly knows what the program and
> subprogram is. And the author-and-institution certainly knows what the
> program and subprogram is. So what's the problem that necessitates
> publishers (of all parties) to become the custodians of these data, which
> have nothing to do with publishers?
> >>>
> >>> (a) The exact source of the grant can be disambiguated top-down, with
> the funders linking the grant-contract-and-number to the exact funding
> source. That seems the most obvious way to do it. Then the IR need merely
> include the grant-contract-and-number tag in the institutional repository
> metadata for each funded article.
> >>>
> >>> (b) Or it can be disambiguated bottom-up, with the
> author-and-institution including an exact funding source tag in addition to
> the grant-contract-and-number tag in the institutional repository metadata
> for each funded article.
> >>>
> >>> Either way, the problem is trivial, and certainly no grounds
> whatsoever to outsource it to publishers!
> >>>
> >>> Moreover, while the publisher knows about the article, but not the
> specific funder, the institution need know about neither. At present few,
> if any, institutional repositories have deposit enforcement that would meet
> federal standards. Most repository programs are voluntary, so an unreliable
> source of ALL funded articles. And many institutions have no repository,
> especially federal laboratories. So all in all the institutions have much
> further to go than the publishers, as far as the federal program goes. Keep
> in mind that the paradigm federal access program at this point is PubMed
> Central, which works with publishers, not institutions.
> >>>
> >>> This is why I have been urging for years that deposit should always be
> convergent, not divergent, with all funders and all institutions mandating
> institutional deposit, not institution-external deposit. (Deposits can then
> be automatically exported to or harvested by any institution-external
> repositories desired, such as PubMed Central.)
> >>>
> >>> (Institutions that don't yet have a repository are just a piece of
> free software, some disk-space, and some sysad time from having one.
> Another non-problem.)
> >>>
> >>> Convergent deposit mandates immediately recruit institutions to
> monitor and ensure full and timely compliance with the funder OA mandate,
> whether or not the institution has an OA mandate of its own (and in fact it
> motivates the institution to adopt an OA mandate of its own, for all of its
> research output, funded and unfunded).
> >>>
> >>> Again, no grounds whatsoever to outsource any of this to publishers.
> >>>
> >>> This is not to say that SHARE cannot win the public access race. In
> fact it is rumored that NSF may go the SHARE route, while DOE may go the
> CHORUS route. NSF works solely with universities, unlike DOE.
> >>>
> >>> Well, let's hope that DOE too sees the wisdom and practicality of
> taking the convergent route, with institutions instead of entrusting this
> funder/institution record-keeping function to a third party with a huge
> conflict of interest (publishers).
> >>>
> >>> Stevan Harnad
> >>>
> >>> At 12:12 PM 5/30/2014, you wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>> On Thu, May 29, 2014 at 4:20 PM, David Wojick <
> dwojick at > wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>> The core challenge in the US Public Access program is to precisely
> identify the funders of the research that leads to a given journal article.
> This sounds easy but it can be a difficult and complex process. The US
> Government is a vast and complex organization, with hundreds of different
> offices sponsoring research. Moreover, each office can be referred to in
> many different ways, creating a major name disambiguation problem in the
> funder data.
> >>> To repeat:
> >>> It is not for publishers to do record-keeping for the government on
> the articles they publish, dearly as publishers no doubt wish to hold onto
> this further potential chain of control over research and researchers'
> work.Â
> >>> Researchers' own institutions are the natural ones to do this. As I
> wrote in my previous posting on this very same issue:
> >>>
> >>> All authors have institutions -- either a university or a research
> institution. Those institutions have a huge stake in ensuring that their
> researchers comply with their funder requirements (and they already review
> all grant applications). Institutions are hence the ones in the position to
> monitor their own researchers' journal article output, ensure that the
> funder (if any) is specified in the repository metadata for each published
> article, and, most important of all, ensure that the deposit is done within
> the required time-frame (see BOAI recommendation above).Â
> >>>
> >>> Repository deposits are time-stamped. Researchers can even be asked to
> deposit the journal's acceptance letter (in closed access) alongside the
> final refereed draft, for record-keeping and compliance monitoring
> purposes. The institution can thereby systematically monitor and ensure
> timely compliance with funder (and institutional) deposit mandates. (The
> repository software and the Copy Request Button can then handle any
> allowable publisher embargo periods in a simple, straightforward way --via
> the Button till the embargo elapses, and then the deposit automatically
> becomes OA.)
> >>>
> >>>> CHORUS and FundRef are attacking this funder identification problem
> using a standardized menu of funder names and DOIs. The basic idea is that
> the submitting author will pick out the standard names of all the offices
> that contributed to the research that underlies the submitted article.
> Again this sounds simple but it is not, because building a comprehensive
> taxonomy of all possible funders is far from simple.
> >>> Far from simple -- and far from necessary. Authors' own institutions
> are the ones that are best positioned to stay abreast of the grants that
> their researchers have received (in fact they already do so), and their
> repositories can automatically record what resulting articles are published
> and deposited, and when.
> >>>>
> >>>> To begin with they have elected to build this menu to identify all
> the funders in the world, not just the US Federal funders. As a result the
> menu of funders already has six thousands names and it will probably have
> many thousands more before it stabilizes. The size of the funder list alone
> thus creates a big discovery problem, because many funders have similar
> names.
> >>> Let's hope that while (all? some?) publishers are spending their time
> constructing a mega-database of all their authors' potential funders
> worldwide, institutions will do the much more simple and sensible thing of
> constructing a database of all their own employees' funding. (Indeed, they
> do it already; they need only pool this information in their IR metadata
> (and their CRIS, if they have one).
> >>>
> >>> Let journal publishers just manage the peer review of the papers
> submitted to them and stop trying to create a monopoly over everything
> else. The research community is perfectly capable of doing its own
> record-keeping, thank you very much!
> >>>
> >>>> Then there is the hierarchy problem, especially within the vast US
> Government complex. Funding offices occur at many different scales, which
> are arranged within one another in the tree-like organization chart. For
> example in the US Energy Department there may be five or more layers of
> funding offices. Saying which layer should be named in the funding data for
> a given article is not simple. Moreover if offices in different layers are
> named for different articles, then the resulting data will have to somehow
> be aggregated by layer in order to be useful. To make matters worse there
> are also cross cutting programs that involve multiple offices. In short any
> taxonomy of US Federal funding offices is going to be a complex system, not
> a simple listing.
> >>>>
> >>> Needless pseudo-complications. The researcher receives a grant. The
> grant has an agency and number. That agency and number is one of the
> metadata tags on all articles arising from that funding that are deposited
> in the IR.
> >>>> Given these complexities it may be better to have an editor name the
> funders based on the acknowledgements section of the article, rather than
> presenting the author with a complex taxonomy of possible funders. There
> seems to be some experimentation in this direction, but it is a labor
> intensive solution. The question is also whether the resulting data would
> be accurate enough for agency purposes; given that acknowledgement has been
> a relatively informal process. There is also the question of when to
> collect this funder data, given the labor involved. Should it be upon
> submission or after acceptance?"
> >>> The above metadata are enough. Let those who wish to harvest it do so,
> and do with it, as they will. Publishers have nothing to do with any of
> this.
> >>>
> >>> And a reminder: We are talking about monitoring and ensuring
> compliance with Green OA self-archiving mandates here.
> >>>
> >>> How funders plan to handle billing and documentation for any Gold OA
> publishing charges that they may be foolish enough to cover out of scarce
> research money while the money for Fair-Gold OA is still locked into
> subscription journals is not what we are discussing here (and certainly not
> my concern.)
> >>>
> >>> Stevan Harnad
> >>>
> >>
> >
> -------------------------------------------
> Paul Walk
> -------------------------------------------
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