A standard way of reporting funding sources for published scholarly research

Funders have never had an easy way to track publications that result from their funding. Since funders are keen on – and often required to – report on the outcomes of the research they have supported, this poses a significant challenge. At the same time, publishers cannot easily report to funders which articles result from research supported by specific funders or grants. Scholarly publications do not always include funding source information or the data provided is inconsistent. In response funders have to mine publication data in order to track funding sources, which is a complex process.

FundRef aims to provide a solution. Facilitated by CrossRef, FundRef is a collaborative project of scholarly publishers and funding agencies that supports a standard way of reporting funding sources for published scholarly research. Following a pilot project in 2012-2013, CrossRef implemented FundRef in late May 2013 in collaboration with Elsevier and other partner organizations.

FundRef was conceived to benefit a range of stakeholders:

  • Funders, who will be able to better track the outcomes of the research they fund
  • Publishers, who will be able to analyze the sources of funding for their published content
  • Researchers, by aiding their compliance with funders’ requirements for acknowledgement of funding
  • The larger public, supported by a greater transparency into the results of R&D funding

The organizations that participated in the FundRef pilot include: American Institute of Physics (AIP), American Psychological Association (APA), Elsevier, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press, Wiley-Blackwell, United States Department of Energy (DOE), United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation and Wellcome Trust.

As of its launch FundRef is open to participation from any CrossRef member publisher. Funders and other interested parties can search the FundRef database at

How FundRef works

FundRef participants have access to the FundRef Registry, a standard taxonomy of more than 4,000 funding body names, donated to the initiative by Elsevier. The FundRef Registry is based on Elsevier Research Intelligence's SciVal Funding, which includes a comprehensive database of funding opportunities from Australia, Canada, the European Commission, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. The SciVal list of funders is freely available on the SciVal Funding page and as linked data via Elsevier’s APIs at The FundRef Registry can be downloaded from the CrossRef web site

Through FundRef publishers can incorporate the FundRef Registry into their manuscript tracking systems. During the submission process publishers ask authors to select the correct funders and provide grant numbers for the awards that supported their research. Publishers send the standard funder information to CrossRef, and funders can query the FundRef database to match their grants to publication output. Publishers can then display the funding information on article PDFs and web sites. For more information, visit the CrossRef web site.

As Elsevier and other publishers integrate the taxonomy into their manuscript submission processes, FundRef will help standardize how authors indicate the funding sources of their research, enabling funders to more clearly track the results of their investments and communicate the impact of R&D spending to the public.