Researchers need to unambiguously identify things in a global context. Example systems of classification include the formal names of organisms, the naming of stars and other celestial objects, and bibliographic information to identify source materials. With the digitization of society, scientific research has moved forward with the adoption of numerous types of digital Persistent Identifiers (PIDs). Current PIDs such as DOIs, ORCIDs, RORs, and RAIDs are useful but underutilized.
With the creation of the Decentralized Identifier (DID) standard by the W3C there are opportunities to expand PIDs in the research landscape. This new type of verifiable identifier does not require a centralized registry and offers the opportunity to create a flexible system where it is easy to add functionalities, enabling creativity with full provenance and ultimately improving the reproducibility of scientific research.
Carly Huitema works at the University of Guelph developing Agri-food Data Canada - a decentralized data ecosystem for improving the FAIRness (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) of agri-food research data. She has an undergraduate degree in microbiology at the University of Guelph and a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of British Columbia. Before this, she trained in Switzerland for six years at an allergy research institute and a start-up in the medical diagnostic device field.