CCC acquired U.K.-based Ringgold, a leading provider of organization identifiers in scholarly communications, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary

he acquisition, said CCC, reflects its ongoing commitment to promoting interoperability, addressing market friction and collaborating with stakeholders. It also further solidifies its transformation from focusing on copyright compliance and content to becoming involved with the entire lifecycle of content creation, research management, and information analysis as part of organisation's workflow.

On May 3, 2022, the CCC, formerly Copyright Clearance Center, issued a press release announcing the acquisition of Ringgold. The change in management, with Tracy L. Armstrong, CCC’s President and CEO; Catherine Rowland, CCC’s General Counsel; and Richard Ruf, CCC’s CFO, being added as Directors of Ringgold, was reported by Companies House as being effective as of 29 April 2022.

Ringgold has long been known for its leadership in Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) for organisation and institutions. PIDs are globally unique and are associated with accurate metadata about an article, a grant, a person, a project or an organisation. CCC has partnered with Ringgold for years and employs its identifiers to disambiguate author affiliations related to article processing charges in CCC’s RightsLink for Scientific Communications offering. Today, among its other services, Ringgold’s IdentifyDB identifier database contains more than 600,000 organization IDs and related metadata.

Going forward, CCC plans to “further invest in identifiers to power interoperability, and data-driven applications. In particular, we will collaborate with partners to infuse PIDs earlier in the research lifecycle, addressing market demand for consistent use of PIDs in the article workflow.”

Writing in The Scholarly Kitchen, Phill Jones, Robert C. Schonfeld, and Todd A. Carpenter, wondered if infrastructure consolidation, as exemplified by this acquisition, is the next step for consolidation in the scholarly communication area. They think the acquisition “raises the question of whether infrastructure will be managed openly through community governed organizations or the extent to which the sector can live with its privatization.” As they point out, PIDs are not the only game in town. ROR is a relatively new, community-led open identifier. It doesn’t yet have the same level of metadata, cross-references and sub-organisational identification as does Ringgold’s PIDs.

They speculate about what effect the CCC acquisition of Ringgold might have on future consolidation in the infrastructure space. What will CCC do with its potentially more powerful market position? Will CrossRef or ORCID change policies or direction? As CCC integrates Ringgold, some of these questions will find an answer.