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Feeding an ORCID: Libraries encourage researchers to register for the new identifier

Colleen DeLory, Editor Library Connect Newsletter | Jan 30, 2013

Library Connect shares the experience of two librarians in promoting and implementing ORCID at their institutions. With ORCID, short for the Open Researcher and Contributor ID repository, researchers can register online for a unique identifier (ID). This facilitates full and correct attribution of their research activities and outputs.

A community-based effort, ORCID is free for individual researchers to use. Organizations, including funders, research organizations and publishers, may pay a membership fee to achieve greater integration with the ORCID system. Elsevier is a founding member organization and participates on the board of directors. (See sidebar below for information on importing Scopus data to ORCID via the Scopus2ORCID tool.)

How have you promoted ORCID registration to researchers at your institution?

Linda Galloway, Syracuse University, New York: I try to include information about ORCID registration every time I talk with faculty (and graduate students) about tracking their citation metrics. I explain that if they use inconsistent naming conventions in their publications, and/or have worked at several institutions, it becomes more difficult to calculate accurate citation counts. I mention a young, prolific faculty member who spelled her first name three different ways early in her career and how difficult it was to find all her publications. I also explain how difficult it is to disambiguate authors who have common names.

I have also publicized ORCID and provided the registration link in the past three monthly newsletters that I send to faculty in my departments (Chemistry, Biology and Forensic Science) here at Syracuse University. The ability to link to funding activities may also appeal to researchers.  

In addition, we describe and link to ORCID on our Citation Metrics Research Guide.

Pat Loria, University of Southern Queensland, Australia: ORCID registration will be promoted on our new 2013 library website using the following text:

Author ID
Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) is an open, non-profit organization that maintains an international registry of unique researcher identifiers and a method of linking research activities to those identifiers. You can link to your other identifiers (such as Scopus Author ID or ResearcherID or LinkedIn). And you can include your ORCID ID on your webpage, when you submit publications, apply for grants, and in any research workflow to ensure you get credit for your work. Register for an ORCID ID.

We are actively promoting ORCID to faculty librarians, who are in turn promoting to academic staff members. We are also investigating the possibility of incorporating ORCID IDs into our institutional repository in 2013.

How do you describe the key benefits of ORCID to faculty and researchers?

Pat: The disambiguation of author identities will improve attribution and reporting on publication outputs, while decreasing staff time in the management of author identity.

Linda: I begin by suggesting that it is important to take control of one’s online scholarly identity. Authors want the correct information attributed to them and should develop a cohesive online presence.  ORCID can help link all forms of scholarly output and it seems the promise of linking all this information is a key benefit.

The fact that so many prestigious publishers and institutions are members of the ORCID initiative definitely piques interest and adds authority. Cooperation with other key identifiers is integral to ORCID’s success.

Are there any barriers to adoption?

Linda: There is some hesitation about yet another tool that requires registration and collects personal information. Unless one really delves deeply into citation analyses, it is difficult to understand the importance of easily and accurately attributing scholarly output.

Do researchers register themselves, or does the library play a role in the registration process?
Pat: One faculty librarian has been setting up some ORCID profiles on behalf of her academics. Other faculties have not yet actively started engaging with the registration process.

Linda: At Syracuse, we make faculty and researchers aware of the benefits of ORCID and advise faculty to register themselves.

Are there additional benefits to ORCID participation beyond the individual researcher?

Pat: We are hoping to use ORCID as another source of data for academic research output, as part of an aggregated search, so that we have as full a picture as possible of research output for internal and external reporting.

Linda: Eventually ORCID could help link all types of data associated with a scholar. The code is open source, and third parties are invited to develop applications.  Linking more ephemeral forms of output, such as times an article has been tweeted, to a particular author via a unique identifier has promise.