The organization ORCID, or Open Research and Contribution ID, has created unique identifiers (called ORCID iDs) with the mission of improving information flow by allowing researchers to be linked to all of their research activities, including publications, data sets, affiliations with research institutions, and grants. ORCID is a nonprofit organization, and individuals can register for free. The ORCID iDs are added to author names in journal articles, so that H.G. Lee is not mistaken for H. Lee, for example. Registrants have control over all of the information shared and can make changes and updates at any time.
There are already over 3,000,000 ORCIDs registered, and more than 600 scholarly libraries, research institutions, funding agencies, and publishers currently using these IDs to track data. ORCID numbers can be easily linked to other researcher IDs, such as Scopus and ResearcherID. No more spending precious hours of your research time trying to mine your computer for your last three successful grant applications.
Also, you don’t have to worry about whether the papers you wrote before you changed your name (due to marriage or other reasons) are lost in cyberspace.
So what are the specific benefits of having this type of ID?
- It is easier to distinguish your work from other researchers, and your work is recognized and not easily confused with work by others with the same name. (i.e. John Smith, Mary Smith).
- ORCID has the potential to help track research outputs at university, department, and college levels.
- Funders are embedding ORCID identifies in their grant submission systems. Governmental organizations, such as NIH, OSTI, and CERN are supporting this effort.
- Until the development of ORCID, there has not been a widely adopted effort to address the issue of researcher IDs and disambiguation. ORCID supporters include all of the major science and technology publishers, including Elsevier, Wiley, Nature, Thomsen Reuters, and others.
Most publishers (including the ones listed above) are now requiring ORCID iDs for all researchers associated with their publications. The Royal Society announced that, from January 1 2016 onward, it would require all corresponding authors submitting papers to its journals to provide an ORCID iDs. Seven other publishers including the American Geophysical Union(AGU), eLife, EMBO, Hindawi, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), PLOS, and Science also committed to requiring ORCID iDs for their publication process in 2016. Publishers feel there would be great benefits to researchers, and to the dissemination of science in general, if ORCID iDs were adopted by as many researchers and organizations as possible.
The nonprofit ORCID organization is off to a good start and is growing; however, there are many, many researchers who have yet to sign up. They are hoping to get as many publishers as possible on board.
For more information, go to https://orcid.org/.