FALL 2014

ORCID: Track all your publications

Advice on publishing strategies from a Boston College professor: "If you don't have a middle initial, get one."

The professor was alluding to the problem librarians call "author ambiguity". Many searches turn up articles by authors of the same name, across a wide variety of disciplines. How do you know for sure which were actually authored by the person you are researching? This issue plagues researchers and university tenure committees alike and, as interdisciplinary work becomes more common, the problem increases.

Several niche researcher identification methods have emerged in recent years, but ORCID is starting to take hold. ORCID is a platform-agnostic identification system that fully integrates with other systems such as Researcher ID and Scopus – making it unnecessary to enter publication information in multiple systems.

ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID.

"ORCID is an open, non-profit, community-driven effort to create and maintain a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers. ORCID is unique in its ability to reach across disciplines, research sectors and national boundaries. It is a hub that connects researchers and research through the embedding of ORCID identifiers in key workflows, such as research profile maintenance, manuscript submissions, grant applications, and patent applications." http://orcid.org/node/47

Organizations that track output are increasingly using ORCID to do so. Input fields for an ORCID show up in publisher submission forms, funding applications and university research tracking systems. Grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have supported adoption and integration projects across universities and professional associations. The list of ORCID member integrations is impressive, and includes organizations such as the American Physical Society, the British Library, Elsevier, Proquest, PLoS, Wellcome Trust and Wiley.

Since an ORCID follows a researcher throughout his or her career, some universities, like Texas A&M, are systematically signing up their grad students and other early career researchers. One benefit for the university will be an ability to track their graduates' output throughout their academic life.

Registering for an ORCID is free for individual members and is easy and brief. Importing publication data using other system IDs (Researcher ID, Scopus and CrossRef) is fairly seamless. In addition to tracking works on all platforms, ORCID tracks 37 types of works – including not just text but datasets, performances and art works, making it a system that can be used by all disciplines.

To take advantage of this service and build a complete online academic presence, register for an ORCID, add any other identifiers you have created, import your work from other systems, and continue to use your ORCID in submission forms. Broader adoption of ORCID as a standard identifier will increase its value and produce benefits for scholars individually and collectively over time. If you decide to join the (roughly) 70 BC colleagues who already have an ORCID, and develop an opinion about its usefulness or ease of use, please share your experience with me or your subject liaison librarian.

A recent blog post, Ten things you need to know about ORCID right now, by the Impactstory team, is a good place to start learning more about ORCID.

Jane Morris
Scholarly Communications Librarian