Meet the FREYA Ambassadors: Melroy Almeida

Author: Melroy Almeida (Australian Access Federation)

FREYA counts on a very active group of ambassadors. We wish to introduce them here in the series: Meet the FREYA Ambassadors. This time you can read about Melroy Almeida and his experience at PIDapalooza 2020 in Lisbon. 


Early this year, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Lisbon, Portugal for PIDapalooza 2020 also known as the “festival of persistent identifiers” for the uninitiated. This was made possible due to Project FREYA and their ambassador program. While I have attended a number of research conferences, it is at PIDapalooza that I have found my tribe of like-minded persistent identifier (PID) enthusiasts.

I work with the Australian Access Federation (AAF), the identity federation for the higher education sector in Australia. The AAF is also the consortium lead for the Australian ORCID Consortium and we help our members understand and integrate ORCID within their research infrastructure. We also work with them to help them understand the benefits of integrating PID systems like ORCID within their infrastructure and how it helps reduce the time-consuming process of maintaining up to date records while allowing them to link their researchers to their research outputs.  Unless an organisation has already been measuring the amount of time spent in maintaining records, it becomes quite difficult to quantify the value. Also, consortium members ask for examples that show how benefits could be realised using ORCID integration and date in the ORCID registry.

By 2018, over 50% of our consortium members had an ORCID integration. As most of the consortium members are Australian universities, I was interested in exploring the possibility of using ORCID related data to visualise local and international collaboration between the universities. I started working with Amir Aryani and using ResearchGraph data we developed what we called the Research Graph Collaboration Score (RGCS) which looked at the linkages between institutions using PIDs for researchers, grants, publications and datasets. This was possible because the underlying metadata for PIDs like ORCID (pid for researchers) and DOIs (pid for research objects) can provide unambiguous linkage between them. E.g. linking a researcher to the journals they published or the datasets they produced. Some of the visualisations we did can be found here which looks at collaboration  between institutions in Australia and internationally.

 We presented this concept at the eResearch Australasia 2018 conference and got a lot of positive feedback. This feedback fed into the next part of our project where we started looking at the possibility of building collaboration networks using the PID-Graph concept along with the ResearchGraph augment API. This was the topic that helped me win Project FREYA’s ambassador competition,2019 and allowed me to attend and present at PIDapalooza 2020. Details of my presentation can be found on the PIDapalooza 2020 zenodo website.

Since the presentation in January 2020, we have been working on developing a friendly user-interface that will let researchers view their collaboration network when they use their ORCID ID. We are also engaging with a few research groups in Australia to understand their needs an provide a positive and meaningful experience when using the user-interface.

If you are interested in knowing more about the work we are doing in building collaboration networks and collaborating further, Amir and I would love to hear from you. I can be reached on melroy.almeida [at] aaf [dot] edu [dot] au.