I’m in the process of building a new submission and publishing system (sort of like OJS, but specifically tailored to LaTeX content for science and engineering content). We want authors to encode their funding information into their publication using unique identifiers for authors, affiliations, and funding agencies. The funder registry is quite useful for this, but I have identified a few ambiguities in the way fundref information is specified. Some of my comments could be addressed by better documentation, but future versions of the schema might wish to address the other issues.
- there are few examples of how to encode funding information. The documentation says you can do it as part of crossmark and best-practice-examples / journal.article5.3.0.xml has it as part of crossmark. This seems odd to me, since the stated purpose of crossmark seems orthogonal to the purpose of funding information. The schema says “If a DOI is not participating in CrossMark, FundRef data may be deposited as part of the <journal_article> metadata.” but unfortunately there is no example and I cannot find any reference to it in the <journal_article> element in 5.3.1. This should be clarified. The recent poster by de Jonge and Kramer in Live22 titled “The availability and completeness of funder metadata in Crossref” identified that many publishers are not reporting funding information, and I think it could be due in part to incomplete documentation.
- the funder registry appears to be hierarchical. If you look at 100000083, it’s the computer science directorate for NSF, but there are five subdirectorates listed there including division of computer and network systems. The funding agencies probably want to have grants identified at the finest level of detail possible. This is not really mentioned in the documentation.
- it seems that funding is linked to publications rather than authors, whereas affiliations are linked to authors. This seems ambiguous since it isn’t obvious how the funding is linked to the publication. An author may have multiple funding sources just as they might have multiple affiliations. Multiple authors may have the same funding sources. These many-to-many relationships between authors and funding sources don’t seem to be reflected in the schema.
- the tools for authors or publishers to identify the ID of their funding agencies are not very user-friendly. The CSV data for the fundref registry only lists a single name, but the JSON information actually provides many alternate names (and contains more than the RDF). I built a small web app that allows an author to enter the name of their funding agency and search the registry to find the correct the identifier - this seems lacking in the crossref tools. I will probably open source this independently, although we also plan to include it in our submission system. It uses advanced search features like stemming (not just autocomplete).
- some funding agencies are proxies for others, and this is not reflected in the funder’s registry. As an example, the American Institute of Mathematics is listed, but they are funded by the Mathematical Sciences Directorate of NSF, as well as the NSF Directorate for STEM Education and others. Whose responsibility is it to properly identify the indirect funding agencies? Is it American Institute of Math or NSF or the author?
- some funding agencies are not identified in the fundref registry. An example is Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI). Is it possible to report funding from this agency given that it lacks an identifier?
- In the crossref API, funding agencies have a “location” field that appears to be just a country. Some have finer-grained location (an example is 100000900). The “location” field should probably be renamed to “country” or made more fine-grained.