Phill Jones and Alice Meadows, in a Scholarly Kitchen post urging publishers to go all in with persistent identifiers like ORCID:

Over the last few years, there has been significant progress in developing recommendations, policies, and procedures for creating, promoting, and using persistent identifiers (PIDs). […] Publishers — and publishing system providers — were early and enthusiastic adopters of persistent identifiers. […] Nevertheless, we think it’s fair to say that many — probably most — publishers aren’t realizing the full potential of PIDs. DOIs are being registered for most publications (especially Crossref DOIs) and ORCID iDs are being collected, but their full value — for authors and publishers alike — isn’t currently being exploited.

“Exploited” is an interesting verb in this context.

The benefits of persistent identifiers—including new-ish entrants like the ROR organization ID—are obvious, and Jones and Meadows make the case in this and a follow-up post.

But there are reasons, too, to be cautious about a “PID-optimized world,” to borrow their phrase. One is that an ID-for-everything system promises to feed the quantified research-assessment culture—the one that’s ruined UK higher ed and, in its worldwide overspread, is complicit in the re-casting of the university as an economic engine.

The other, related issue is that all this interlinked data will make it easier for the big publishers to create prediction products, only to sell back to universities and research-assessment offices at steep premiums. We are, in a PID-optimized world, shoveling coal into the furnace of surveillance publishing.

Jones and Meadows, indeed, pitch the business case to publishers directly: “This information,” they write, “doesn’t just flow from publisher systems; it can flow into them too, enabling […] better (and easier) business insights.”

Yikes. And who knew there is a PIDapoolaz?