The VIVO project (http://vivoweb.org/) enables international networking of scientists through the sharing of linked open semantic data. VIVO uses an ontology designed to represent a broad spectrum of activities and relationships in which a researcher is involved. This involves modeling the roles an academic holds in different spans of time. I briefly introduce how researchers’ roles are represented in the VIVO, some of the issues we’ve had to address, and open questions we are considering. Topics include: Getting the research process right: What are roles really in? What processes and activities do we need to consider? How can the ontology world help? Avoiding seeing the world through a publication-colored lens. How can we enable linking research roles to different types of outputs? Using an ontology for semantic data. How does it differ from a simple controlled list of terms? Capturing time bounds on roles to enable aggregation of data over aresearcher’s career. Allowing for institutions or disciplines to describe highly specific roles while permitting common understanding at more general level.