If you’re thinking that I merely misspelled the name these beautiful flowers, you’d be mistaken.
ORCiD is a non-profit organization that provides unique identifiers for researchers.
This 16-digit identifier to any research output, such as publications, datasets, posters, basically anything. It’s basically a bar code that you can apply to your work to link you to your accomplishments.
Why are unique identifiers for researchers important?
A major challenge in cataloging research output for individuals and institutions is matching researchers to their output. Currently, the only way we have to distinguish researchers from one another are names and affiliations. This system is problematic for a number of reasons:
- Names can change over the course of a career. This situation often occurs due to changes in marital status.
- So do affiliations. Researchers almost certainly change their institution through their MD/PhD and postdoctoral training, but many also have other steps along the way.
- Names are not unique. Many researchers, even within the same field, have the same or similar names, especially when databases only store first and middle initials.
- Name formats are often not standardized. Researchers often publish under variations of the same names: some journals include first and middle names, some only accept first, not to mention typos.
To compound this problem, there is no one comprehensive source for all research publications. Thus, automated searches, such as the PubMed search strategy used with Colorado PROFILES, have issues with sensitivity and specificity. Faculty are asked to log in and curate their profiles, but many do not. A widely-used unique identifier for researchers that can travel with a researcher across institutions and can be integrated into many databases would solve this problem.
How does fit in?
Because ORCiD is an independent non-profit organization, they provide an identifier that can be used for anything, anywhere. It stays with the researcher though name and affiliation changes. Even PubMed has an Author – Identifier field that uses ORCiD iDs now.
How is ORCiD different from other profile systems like ResearchGate and LinkedIn?
ORCiD isn’t meant to replace any of these systems. It’s not a professional networking platform like Research Gate and LinkedIn. ORCiD does provide an online profile system where researchers can display their accomplishments… or not. The ORCiD iD itself is useful even if you never fill out the profile system. Additionally, these platforms do not provide a unique identifier. In fact, ResearchGate includes a field for ORCiD iD!
How is ORCiD different from other unique IDs for research output like Web of Science Researcher ID and Scopus Author ID?
Researcher ID and Author ID are, as indicated by their names, are unique IDs for researchers. However, their limitation is that they only link to citations within their respective databases (Web of Science and Scopus). Thus, they do not capture the whole picture. ORCiD iDs are platform agnostic and can import data from your Researcher and Author IDs, so you don’t have to start from scratch.
What about Google Scholar Citation Profile?
Google Scholar Citations is designed for you to keep track of your publications and associated citation metrics. ORCiD doesn’t do these things, but Google Scholar does not create a unique identifier.
But I already have all these things set up. Can I import things from these places?
Yes! Here are a list of tutorials:
ORCiD has not formed partnerships with ResearchGate and LinkedIn to allow direct transfer of information. ResearchGate does have a field where you can input your ORCiD iD.
How do I register for an ORCiD iD?
Individuals can get an ORCiD iD for free.
ORCiD has institutional partners that can automate this process for their faculty based on information they have on file. CU Anschutz has access to CU Boulder’s ORCiD membership. If you have questions or comments about the possibility of CU Anschutz using ORCiD, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tobin Magle, PhD. Bioinformationist.