All About ORCID


One of the problems many researchers face is that they have the same name as another scholar working in a similar field. In addition, a researcher’s name might change over the course of their career, or they may use different variations of their name (such as a nickname or middle initial) depending on where they publish. So, given these challenges, how can you make sure that you are being properly recognized for all of your scholarship?

Launched in 2012, ORCID (“Open Researcher and Contributor ID”) is a global non-profit organization the provides researchers with free unique persistent identifiers (basically, 16-digit numbers). These identifiers are stored in a central registry, so that others can find you and your work. While there are a number of different types of author identifiers out there, including ResearchID (from Web of Science) and SCOPUS Author ID, ORCID is quickly becoming the standard, in large part because it is not tied to a particular publisher or platform. Instead, ORCID is an open, community-driven organization. To date, over two million researchers have registered for ORCID identifiers.

More and more journals, publishers, and funding agencies are collecting ORCID identifiers from researchers. In fact, in a recent letter, several major journals and publishers, including The Royal Society, PLOS, and Science, explained that they will now require all researchers who publish with them to have an ORCID identifier.

Creating an ORCID identifier is easy: simply use your e-mail address to register, then add as much or as little information as you want. Adding your scholarship is a good first step. You can add work manually, import your citations from a BibTeX (.bib) file, or search ORCID’s many data sources to find and link your work. One of the great things about ORCID is that it supports 37 different kinds of scholarly output, including books and articles, but also inventions, conference posters, data sets, and even artistic performances. You don’t have to be a scientist to use and benefit from ORCID. Your profile can also include information about your education, funding, and employment history. Although profiles are public, you control who can see what in your profile. You have three choices: make your information publicly available, share it with trusted sources (such as your library), or keep it private. It’s up to you. Once you have an ORCID identifier, you can use it when submitting journal articles and grant applications. You can also display your identifier on your personal or departmental website. You can even buy custom ORCID mugs and stickers!

It is important to note that ORCID does not try to verify the information researchers provide. Basically, they depend on researchers to be honest about their scholarship.

Have you signed up for an ORCID identifier? How do you use it?

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