An Interview with FundRef and the Upcoming ScholarOne Manuscripts Integration
ScholarOne has been working closely with FundRef to ensure our system is one of the first to support this collaborative effort that connects funding to research.
With the September release of ScholarOne Manuscripts v4.13, customers will be able to collect and include unique identifiers for key funding bodies and specific grant numbers as part of their standard submission process and move them seamlessly through the peer review workflow all the way to the published output.
We sat down with Kirsty Meddings, Product Manager for FundRef at CrossRef to get her perspective on the initiative’s objectives and the key role publishers and solutions like ScholarOne play in its success.

What is the primary objective of FundRef?
In one word: Transparency. FundRef is all about uncovering information on funding sources for research that’s available but “hidden” within articles. We want to pull it out of the content of a manuscript and into a standardized format so that it is fully available for anyone that’s interested. This is obviously of particular importance to funding bodies themselves, but the benefits of having this kind of data extends to everyone in the information chain.
Why is FundRef so important for publishers and what role do they play in this initiative?
One of the main drivers behind this need is the growing pressure for transparent tracking of funding information and the research it supports. Within the global landscape there are various mandates, memos and recommendations all pushing to make the outcomes of publically funded research more accessible to the public.
The first step to enabling this transparency is to identify the funding sources behind the published research, which is what FundRef is setting out to do, and that can’t happen without the support of publishers. Until now, many publishers have not extracted funding information so it’s been buried in text. There has been no standard way to tag this information as metadata or deposit it in a centralized place. Having publishers universally support the FundRef initiative and integrate it into their publishing process is the key to resolving these challenges.
How do peer review systems like ScholarOne fit into this process?
The way we envisioned FundRef working is really two-fold. First we need to make sure authors are submitting funding information at the time they’re submitting a manuscript. If as part of the submission process authors are explicitly asked to provide any funding sources and grant numbers we can make sure the information is collected outside of the actual manuscript.
The next step is making sure we’re able to collect that information in a sensible, standardized way. What this means is that we need to not just ask authors to provide the information, but make sure they’re doing so consistently using the names from the FundRef Registry. This is critical to make sure funding information is properly attributed to the supporting organizations. We have DOIs for articles, ORCIDs and ResearcherIDs for people. The FundRef Registry provides a unique identifier for a funding body to support the same type of disambiguation.
This is why it was so critical to have organizations like ScholarOne involved in the FundRef pilot. What made our pilot unique was that we pulled together funders, publishers and manuscript tracking systems to make sure that any processes or technologies we developed could be supported throughout the entire workflow. The fact that ScholarOne works with so many journals around the world made their perspective and input extremely valuable.
What can publishers do once they’ve captured FundRef information in their ScholarOne system?
ScholarOne’s integration with FundRef will give publishers a much better view of the sources of funding for their published content. Publishers are being approached by funders and policy makers with varying requests, recommendations and mandates related to publically funded research. By capturing this information in their ScholarOne system upon submission and carrying it through the peer review process, they can easily display this disambiguated funding data along with the other metadata for published content in FundRef Search ensuring these requests are being met.
Where do you see FundRef in five years and what role do publishers play in that vision?
Our goal is that all authors around the world submit funding information as part of their submission process within systems like ScholarOne because it is one of the publisher’s requirements for review.
Our priority is to have as many CrossRef member publishers as possible routinely depositing funding data. We want to grow the FundRef database from 10,000 records to many hundreds of thousands so that FundRef reaches critical mass. As part of this process we will expand the FundRef Registry – the authoritative list of funder names – to ensure that it’s coverage is comprehensive and global. We have also started looking at additional metadata fields to add such as licensing terms.
The key to all of this is the participation of publishers and the support of peer review systems like ScholarOne since they are the vehicles to capturing the data. They are the real drivers behind adoption and therefore our success.

Stay tuned for more information about how ScholarOne Manuscripts will support FundRef integration with the upcoming September release.


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