Retiring OrgRef

If you aren’t already aware of OrgRef, it’s an open dataset providing structured information about academic and research organizations worldwide. The team here at DataSalon built and launched it back in September 2014 as a free resource for the publishing community.

OrgRef has done a great job and served its purpose well, and now we feel the time is right to retire it.

When OrgRef was first launched, there weren’t any free and open institutional identifiers available. Those who could afford it used commercial services, and those who couldn’t had to do without. So we built OrgRef – and then gave it away for free – so that some form of institutional reference data would be available to anyone who wanted it. It was very well received and subsequently adopted by several publishers.

Since then, it has been great to see other free alternatives being launched, most notably GRID, which is in many ways a bigger and better version of OrgRef. In addition, ORCID have also announced an exciting new project to create “an open, independent, non-profit organization identifier registry” (see their Organization Identifier Working Group for details).

Both of those are excellent initiatives which we at DataSalon fully support. And in light of those alternatives, it feels like OrgRef has done its job and can now safely be retired.

We’ve been working with the GRID team to compare coverage, and are now helping publishers who use OrgRef within MasterVision to migrate over to GRID in the coming months. We’ll leave the OrgRef website in place for the time being, but will stop posting new releases from March 2018 onwards.

So, there’s no need to mourn the passing of OrgRef! If you have an interest in organizational identifiers and aren’t aware of them already, we would strongly recommend taking a look at those GRID and ORCID projects.

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