Name ambiguity is a big problem in scholarly communications! Researchers can, and often do, have the same first and last name. And there are many cases where the version of the name an individual has published under has varied over their career. Searching by name alone will not produce a list of all the work of that individual and that individual alone. These publication lists are in high demand, whether it be for a promotion and tenure committee, or a potential funder, there is a massive amount time being spent on data entry, and reentry. All these factors highlighted the need for a unique author identification system.
Thomson Reuters, the company behind Web of Science, has developed ResearcherID to this end. Another option, is the Scopus Author ID, developed by Elsevier, which is based on their citation and abstract database of the same name. However, each of these is tied to their specific database. In 2012 a new author identification system was launched, called ORCID. This open, not-for-profit registry works as a complementary system to ResearcherID, Scopus Author ID, as well as others, and is becoming the author identifier of choice for many academics, universities, and grant funders.
The ORCID web site maintains a list of institutions and organizations with established ORCID programs in place or in progress. The fast-growing list of ORCID adopters includes:
Learned societies and professional associations such as: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); American Chemical Society; IEEE; Optical Society; Modern Lanaguage Association, and many more
Publishers and Presses including eLife Sciences, Elsevier, Wiley, Public Library of Science, Hindawi Publishing Group, Institute of Physics Publishing, to name a few
Research institutions such as CERN, Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, National Institutes of Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences,Qatar National Research Fund, and others
Federal Agencies including U.S. Department of Energy,Food and Drug Administration,
Scholarly Sharing Service Providers including Altmetric, Dryad, Peerage of Science, CrossRef, FigShare, and many others!
Major Research Universities including Texas A&M, Harvard University, Cal Tech, MIT, University of Michigan, National Taiwan Normal University, University of Cambridge, and many more.
The Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) is a way for an individual scholar to make sure all their work is clearly attributed to them throughout their career.
ORCID provides two core functions:
(1) a registry to obtain a unique identifier and manage a record of activities,
(2) APIs that support system-to-system communication and authentication. ORCID makes its code available under an open source license, and will post an annual public data file under a CC0 waiver for free download.
Useful Reference Resources
Links to more reading
Integration of ORCID identifiers by publishers (Veronique Kiermer, Nature PG, Oct. 2013)
ORCID Identifiers and Funding Agencies: An NSF Perspective (Amy Northcutt, NSF, Oct. 2013)
ORCID aims to solve the name ambiguity problem in research and scholarly communications by creating a central registry of unique identifiers for individual researchers and an open and transparent linking mechanism between ORCID and other current researcher ID schemes. These identifiers, and the relationships among them, can be linked to the researcher's output to enhance the scientific discovery process and to improve the efficiency of research funding and collaboration within the research community.