Measuring the concept of PID literacy: User Perceptions and Understanding of PIDs in Support of Open Scholarly Infrastructure

George Macgregor, Barbara S. Lancho Barrantes, Diane Rasmussen Pennington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The increasing centrality of persistent identifiers (PIDs) to scholarly ecosystems and the contribution they can make to the burgeoning 'PID graph' has the potential to transform scholarship. Despite their importance as originators of PID data, little is known about researchers' awareness and understanding of PIDs, or their efficacy in using them. In this article we report on the results of an online interactive test designed to elicit exploratory data about researcher awareness and understanding of PIDs. This instrument was designed to explore recognition of PIDs (e.g. DOIs, ORCIDs, etc.) and the extent to which researchers correctly apply PIDs within digital scholarly ecosystems, as well as measure researchers' perceptions of PIDs. Our results reveal irregular patterns of PID understanding and certainty across all participants, though statistically significant disciplinary and academic job role differences were observed in some instances. Uncertainty and confusion were found to exist in relation to dominant schemes such as ORCID and DOIs, even when contextualized within real-world examples. We also show researchers' perceptions of PIDs to be generally positive but that disciplinary differences can be noted, as well as higher levels of aversion to PIDs in specific use cases and negative perceptions where PIDs are measured on an 'activity' semantic dimension. This work therefore contributes to our understanding of scholars' 'PID literacy' and should inform those designing PID-centric scholarly infrastructures, that a significant need for training and outreach to active researchers remains necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20220142
Number of pages36
JournalOpen Information Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2023


  • persistent identifiers
  • PIDs
  • open scholarly infrastructure
  • scholarly graphs
  • PID graph
  • PID literacy
  • web entities
  • resource discovery
  • metadata
  • URIs


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