Your name identifies you as the author of your work, but does it do so unambiguously? Does it appear in the same form on all your work? Has your name changed through life transitions? Do others have the same or a very similar name? Could someone interested in your contributions to the scholarly record easily use your name to find your work? The reality is that names are neither consistent nor unique, and thus make poor identifiers. This is an issue that affects all involved in the research process: funders, institutions, publishers, and you.
The Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) was established in 2010 to address the challenge of identity for researchers. Working “for the benefit of all stakeholders, including research organizations, research funders, organizations, publishers, and researchers,” the ORCID community strives to establish a “permanent, clear and unambiguous record of research and scholarly communication by enabling reliable attribution of authors and contributors.”
The ORCID Registry is free to individuals, and to date, there are more than 550,000 researchers with ORCID identifiers in the Registry. Click here to add yourself to the ORCID Registry and obtain your ORCID identifier. The Registry can hold your name, education, institutional affiliation(s), corresponding websites, funding you have received, and your work. You can control which information in your record is public or private. You can import the citations for your work from a variety of partnering organizations including professional societies and commercial databases such as Web of Science and Scopus. If you already have a ResearcherID or Scopus Author ID, you can import information from those records, and include those IDs in the ORCID Registry. The ORCID identifier is a 16-digit string preceded by “http://orcid.org” to create a URI for the corresponding record in the registry; e.g., http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5109-3700. Once you have your ORCID identifier, you can include it on manuscript or proposal submissions to unambiguously identify the work as yours.
ORCID identifiers are compatible with the ISO Standard (ISO 27729), also known as the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI). ORCID identifiers are used by the Clearinghouse for Open Research of the United States (CHORUS) and SHared Access Research Ecosystem (SHARE) systems to facilitate mandated sharing of funded research. Application programming interface (APIs) for communication between the ORCID Registry and other systems are available, and the community is committed to the development of Open Source code to facilitate communication across systems.
“ORCID identifiers are part of a larger community effort to create interoperable research infrastructures through adoption and use of trusted persistent identifiers and standard vocabularies and record formats to promote data quality in the collection, management, exchange and aggregation of research information.”
The ORCID members and sponsors include research institutes, scholarly societies, commercial publishers, academic institutions and their libraries, digital repositories, and government agencies and funders such as the National Institutes of Health. As of November 2013, there were more than 90 ORCID member organizations, and more than 50 ORCID integrators had added ORCID identifier functionality to their systems. ScieNCV, an inter-agency researcher profile system in use by the National Institutes of Health and coming to the National Science Foundation in 2014 includes ORCID identifiers. Going forward, researchers should expect an increasing number of submission venues to accept and make effective use of ORCID identifiers.
This post was originally published on the Research Data blog by Susan Braxton.