The Research Resource Identification, #RRID, Initiative is designed to help researchers cite the key biological resources used to produce their scientific findings. We know that researchers do not always write all of the excruciating details of their experimental methods sections, sometimes even if they want to, they are turned away by page limits or by convention. We are here to support authors by making some parts of their methods section more transparent and rigorous by allowing them to easily access millions of "Key Biological Resources" on our website and giving authors an unambiguous proper citation format. This format is echoed on many company and project websites around the world.

SciCrunch is the organization that cares for and feeds the data indexes that form the RRID project and serves this data to individual authors via the website as well as journals and software tools via the RRID resolution services. 

Principally, the RRID is a Persistent Unique Identifier:

Persistent: Unlike a catalog number at a company RRIDs stick around and the numbers are not reused. So RRID 1 will never change. 

Unique: Catalog numbers are just fine when you want to track down a particular product at Sigma, but if we look across companies, many use numbers and so there may be many reagents with the same number or number/letter combination. RRIDs do not allow this, so when someone asks what do you know about RRID 1, we answer with the information for a single item. 

Identifier: When looking at all modern systems for figuring out what is what, they run on identifiers, Social Security Numbers, PubMed identifiers or your product codes. These things are useful to machines. RRIDs are 'handles' for humans and machines to use when discussing a product like a mouse or an antibody.  

Here is what an RRID looks like:  RRID:MMRRC_031168-UCD

Here is what this RRID means:

Here are the papers using this RRID: Google Scholar


Journals can use the information that authors provide "I used this mouse (RRID:MMRRC_031168-UCD) to tell readers "here is what the author was actually using", or they can use it to track information about a particular mouse more easily, so if an author finds that a knock out is incomplete or a cell line is contaminated or an antibody is not working as expected the information in the paper can be much more easily found. 

The Resource Identification Initiative aims to enable resource transparency within the biomedical literature through promoting the use of unique Research Resource Identifiers (RRIDs). In addition to being unique, RRID’s meet three key criteria, they are:

  1. Machine readable.
  2. Free to generate and access.
  3. Consistent across publishers and journals.


RRID's are drawn from:

To make it easy for authors to find the appropriate RRID's and to format their citations, we have created the Resource Identification Portal, where authors can search across all of sources from a single location.

In addition to facilitating reproducibility and reuse, the inclusion of RRID citations in the literature allows resource providers, funders and others to better track usage and impact. Ultimately, we believe that the outcome of the pilot phase showed:

  • The need for better reporting of materials and methods to promote reproducible science.  Proper resource identification is a step towards this goal.
  • The need for a cultural shift in the way we write and structure papers. We must recognize the increasing dominant model of interacting with the literature through automated agents; therefore, the conventions we adopt should be tailored towards greater machine-processability.
  • The need for a cultural shift in the way we view the literature. The literature is not only a source of papers for people to read, but a connected set of data: observations and claims in biomedicine that span journals, publishers, and formats. The synthesis of information from the literature and other sources requires universal machine access to key entities.

We hope the Resource Identification Initiative will be a small step towards improving scholarly communication and scientific reproducibility.