5 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 302 2021 Open Persistent Identifiers: The Building Blocks of Sustainable Scholarly Infrastructure Maria Gould, California Digital Library Maria Praetzellis, California Digital Library Introduction In May 2021, Microsoft circulated an announcement that it would be shutting down its Microsoft Academic Services (MAS) by the end of the year. The news of this decision reverberated through the open- scholarship community, raising questions and concerns among the many stakeholders who relied on the free service for tracking research activities in various contexts.1 At a time when research discovery is more necessary than ever, it is also becoming more complicated. The work of tracking and identifying publications and other research outputs is taking place in a context of increased technological complexity, competing motivations and priorities, and constrained resources. As exemplified by the Microsoft case, one of the fundamental challenges and risks in the scholarly infrastructure landscape is the unpredictable availability of the platforms and services we rely upon to perform this work. When these platforms and services go away, what do we have left? Such challenges and risks might be overcome or at least mitigated if and when scholarly infrastructure is built with open components that can persist beyond their packaging. “The Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure” (POSI), which were initially outlined in 2015 and are seeing a revival in 2021, provide a set of guidelines for open infrastructure for research and scholarly communications.2 Within this framework, open infrastructure is a strategy for sustainability. Using the POSI principles as a backdrop, we examine one essential ingredient of open infrastructure: persistent identifiers, or PIDs. We explore ways in which the use of openly available PIDs, and investments in
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