About RMap

What is RMap?  |   Who can use RMap?  |   How do I create a DiSCO?  |   Using ORCID IDs, DOIs and other PIDs  |   Why are there duplicates in the visualization?  |   Funding  |   Additional information

What is RMap?

Today's scholarly works can be dynamic, distributed, and complex. They can consist of multiple related components (article, dataset, software, multimedia, webpage, etc.) that are made available asynchronously, assigned a range of identifiers, and stored in different repositories. The goal of RMap is to provide a service that allows you to capture and preserve the maps of relationships found amongst these distributed works that is independent of the works themselves. These maps, which we call "Distributed Scholarly Compound Works" (DiSCOs), can be updated to reflect the components of the work as it evolves. Each version of a DiSCO is assigned an identifier so that it can be cited or shared with others as a representation of the scope of the work at a point in time. While RMap is primarily a linked data API, for improved navigation and discovery, there is also a search function and visual user interface that allows you to interactively navigate DiSCOs and the resources within them.

The video below offers a short introduction to some of the concepts behind the RMap:

Who can use RMap?

Anyone can view RMap data either through the open API, or by navigating the data in the visual website. The policies around writing data to RMap may vary by institution. In this instance of RMap, anyone with a Google, Twitter, or ORCID account can log in and create keys that provide write access to the RMap API. All data created through the API is immediately available through the public API and visual website.

How do I create a DiSCO?

Currently, DiSCOs can only be created through the RMap API. API keys for write access can be generated by logging into this website. Data submitted through the API must be formatted as valid RMap DiSCOs - a simple RDF model that can wrap around most RDF graphs with a few constraints: (1) the DiSCO has two required fields "rdf:type=DiSCO" and a list of "aggregated resources", and (2) the RDF graph must be fully connected to the aggregated resources listed.

For full documentation on the RMap data model and how to use the API to create DiSCOs please visit the RMap Technical Wiki. Feel free to contact us with any questions about obtaining API keys, or creating DiSCOs.

Using ORCID IDs, DOIs, and other PIDs

Where possible, it is recommended that the resources expressed in your DiSCOs are represented using unique persistent identifiers (PIDs) such as DOIs, ORCID IDs, ARK IDs, Handles, ISNIs etc. This is not a requirement, all identifier types are accepted provided they are expressed as RDF, but using PIDs in a consistent way allows us to unambiguously connect related works and contributors, improving data quality and discovery. The RMap technical wiki includes some best practices for linking and using these various related identifiers in a way that will encourage consistency around identifier use.

As an ORCID member, we are supporting the use of your ORCID account credentials for logging into RMap and creating API keys. This is offered as a convenience for ORCID users but does not currently mean that the DiSCOs you create are automatically linked to your ORCID ID. API users have full control over the content of their DiSCOs, so data creators can, for example, use their ORCID ID in the optional “creator” field of the DiSCO, or as contributor IDs that are connected to scholarly works referenced in your DiSCOs.

Why are there duplicates in the visualizations?

The visualizations on this website are a reflection of the raw data in RMap's database. Each item seen in a visualization represents an identifier within the RMap database. Many items can be represented by more than one identifier and each of these will appear visually as a separate entity. Even though these identifiers are referring to the same thing (person, article etc), they might also have different information or relationships associated with them. The user interface does not currently provide a way to condense these into a single view. As an example, a person might have an ORCID ID as well as an identity on a number of other platforms such as Scopus, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. In the visualization these identities will appear as separate when in fact they all represent the same person. The RMap technical wiki includes some best practices for linking and using these various related identifiers in a way that will support better discovery and encourage consistency around identifier use.


The original RMap project was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and undertaken by the Data Conservancy, Portico, and IEEE. This instance of RMap is managed by The Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University.

Additional information

For additional information about RMap, visit the RMap Project website. To view the RMap code, report bugs, or request changes, visit the RMap GitHub project. To read about technical detail of RMap including API instructions, visit the RMap Techncial Wiki. For all other questions, please contact us at rmap.project@gmail.com