What is THOR?

If you haven’t heard about the THOR project, you’re missing out on a lot of changes in the open scientific community and the forces that drive these changes forward. THOR is a 30-month project funded by the European Commission. Its purpose is to establish seamless integration between articles, data, and researchers across the research lifecycle. This will create a wealth of open resources and foster a sustainable international e-infrastructure. THOR started this June and its goal is to improve the interconnection of the existent persistent identifiers so that a researcher will not have the need for multiple persistent identifiers that provide information only for a part of his research. Moreover, it aims to form economies of scale, enrich existing research services, and create opportunities for innovative solutions throughout the lifecycle of scientific research projects.

How does THOR work?

THOR’s main goal is to create sustainable services, not just prototypes or proofs of concept. These services will be built to be accessible to all researchers, no matter which discipline, institution or country they work in. The INSPIRE team at CERN, along with DataCite and ORCID, will collaborate with the British Library, EMBL, DRYAD, ANDS, PLOS, Pangaea and ELSEVIER, organisations and publishers from a variety of scientific fields.

All of THOR’s initiatives revolve around the following set of actions and proposals:

  • The leverage of two community-driven global persistent identifier (PID) initiatives for contributors (ORCID profiles) and scientific data artifacts (DOIs through DataCite) to build tools to serve the evolving needs of the research community
  • Deliver PID-based services to submit, identify, attribute, and cite artefacts, starting with four disciplinary communities: Biological and Medical sciences, Environmental and Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences and the Humanities
  • Create PID integration and interoperability solutions for research institutions, libraries, data centers, publishers, and research funders
  • Enhance the expertise of the European research community by running an intensive training program, and creating a knowledge base for practitioners integrating PIDs into research information systems.


Because of the nature of the community and the existing infrastructure that INSPIRE has built over the years, it is one of the most significant THOR project partners. INSPIRE’s database and author profiles are perfect candidates for the integration of the two PID-based services mentioned, ORCID and DataCite, which present a way to create a bidirectional connection with other scientific communities and repositories. These kinds of features improve the workflow of the users of INSPIRE by building seamless connections to other services such as HepData, which connects the author’s research papers with the corresponding data, and more importantly promote a new era of “open-access”-friendly scientific information services.

If you are interested in project THOR and/or have questions about the actions it promotes, feel free to contact us at [email-address], follow project THOR on Twitter, or leave your comments below.

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