For authors: What are PIDs and how do they amplify your data’s impact?

Research is meant to be connected. Find out how Dryad links your research data to the people, organizations, and publications that bring it to life through our use of persistent identifiers (PIDs). 

What are PIDs?

PIDs are unique, machine-readable codes assigned to digital objects. They provide a reliable, long-term, and durable way to access and identify digital objects over time. They can also serve to authoritatively or consistently refer to an individual, organization, digital resource, controlled vocabulary term, and more. At Dryad, we use a range of PIDs to make it easy to find, use, and cite the data we publish and align with FAIR data principles. 

The real power of PIDs lies in the connections they make, building a rich network of information that fosters scientific discovery. PIDs bring together the context that your future self and other users rely on to validate, replicate, and build upon your results to amplify the impact of your work. Read on to explore how PIDs connect Dryad data to its creators, reusers, related publications, institutions, and funders.

PIDs connect data and creators

When you publish data with Dryad, you’ll be asked to provide your ORCID iD. An ORCID iD unambiguously identifies you as an author of the data. It differentiates authors with identical or similar names to make sure you get credit for your work. 

PIDS connect data and reusers

Upon submission, every Dryad dataset receives one of the best-known PIDs–a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). DOIs are designed to endure and, unlike traditional web addresses, they resist breaking over time. Dryad registers DOIs through our partners at DataCite. When you find Dryad data in discovery services like Google Dataset Search and Datacite Commons, DOIs ensure that you’ll be reliably directed to the dataset on our platform. By assigning DOIs to datasets, Dryad also ensures that they become citable entities, allowing researchers to receive proper recognition for their data contributions. 

PIDs connect data and related research

When you submit data to Dryad, you’ll be asked for links (ideally DOIs) that point to related research outputs like preprints, published articles, other datasets, and software. We display these links alongside your dataset to provide essential contextual information that supports data reuse. Datasets in a vacuum can be difficult to interpret and may have limited potential for reuse. When they’re connected to research articles that describe how the data were collected, processed, analyzed, and applied to research questions, they come alive with the potential for validation, replication, use in meta-analysis, and more.

PIDs connect data and research institutions

Dryad uses Research Organization Registry (ROR) identifiers as a standard way to refer to entities like universities, labs, institutes, and other research-performing organizations around the world. ROR identifiers allow us (and others) to answer questions like, “How many datasets have been published in Dryad from researchers at the University of Minnesota?” Without ROR identifiers, this would be a complicated process of reconciling myriad variations (think “U of Minn,” “UMN,” “U of Minnesota”). ROR identifiers, attached to all authors in the Dryad platform, make it simple. See this video for more on how Dryad’s integration with ROR works.

PIDs connect data and funding

As data sharing policies proliferate, funders need ways to evaluate compliance and gauge the impact of their investments. The Crossref Open Funder Registry (which will soon become a part of ROR) allows us to unambiguously identify these funders and relate them to the datasets they funded. This makes it easy for funders to see if a specific grant complied with open data sharing requirements, monitor data sharing activity across the wide network of open data repositories, or even build their own portfolio of funded data. Funders can get in touch with us at to learn more about our funder dashboard, which provides a simple interface for exploring these connections.

What’s next for PIDs?

At Dryad, we see your data as a living object that needs care, sustenance, and protection over time. The emergence of new PIDs and standards over time will create new opportunities to connect existing data resources to the global research infrastructure and provide new avenues for data discovery and reuse for both humans and machines. We need retrospective and on-going curation processes to add new PIDs as they become available. We sometimes refer to this as re-curation, the process of continuously enhancing metadata to link data using new or emerging standards or to add related identifiers. When we apply PIDs (and maintain them over time), we keep data connected to the scholarly conversation, helping it have an impact well beyond its original use. Want to create and keep trusted connections to your data? Get started with Dryad today.

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