Because multiple researchers in the same or different fields may have the same first and last names, there is an author ambiguity problem within the scholarly research community. To circumvent this problem assigning each researcher a “unique author identifier” has been proposed.
For example, if you search PubMed for lee b[au], you will find over 9000 matches from authors on almost every continent! Author identification may help resolve the problem of locating research by a specific B. Lee by creating a centrally administered system to unambiguously identify authors of scientific papers.
The benefits of such a system include:
- Less ambiguity as to who has published a certain paper when different variations of an author’s name have been used
- Ability to accurately measure citations of individual papers or authors
- Easier evaluation of an author’s productivity and impact in his/her field
- Simplified data handling and storage; author identification only has to be stored in one place
- Richer cross-referencing is possible between search engines, browsers, and other applications to create links between an author’s biographical information and his/her published works
- Opportunity to create an “academic genealogy”
There are several systems currently working to provide unique researcher identifiers. Signing up for one (or all) of these systems will help ensure you are uniquely associated with your research (especially if you happen to be a B. Lee!)
- ORCID (Open Researcher & Contributor ID) Initiated: 2010
- ResearcherID (recently announced that they will incorporate ORCID into their service) Initiated: 2008
To understand more about ResearcherID, watch a presentation on “How ResearcherID will resolve name ambiguity in the scholarly ecosystem”
- Scopus Author Identifier Initiated: 2006
- arXiv Author ID Initiated: 2005
- eRA Commons Username Initiated: 2005
Need help signing up for an author ID with these resources? Feel free to contact “Ask Us” for assistance.
Much of this Appendix Newsletter item is taken from ResearcherID, ORCID, and Other Unique Author Identifiers
[Lynne M. Fox, Education Librarian and Lilian Hoffecker, Research Librarian]