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Growing ORCIDs at Texas A&M University Libraries

By Catherine Pepper, Heather K. Moberly, and Gail P. Clement, Texas A&M University | Apr 13, 2015

Texas A&M University ORCID promotion
ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is an open, free registry of unique researcher identifiers that attaches persistent links between individual authors and their works. This enables researchers to corral their research outputs in one site so that they can be distinguished from other researchers with similar names. ORCID’s open source platform allows seamless, transparent exchange of information among other research systems, such as those of journal publishers and grant funding sources. Additional benefits include increased visibility of researchers’ work and ease of identifying potential collaborators. Launched in October 2012, the program has gained increasingly rapid traction in the academic and scholarly publishing communities. 
Texas A&M University Libraries’ ORCID initiative
Since February 2014, the Texas A&M University Libraries has minted nearly 17,000 ORCID iDs. Texas A&M is one of nine institutions funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s ORCID Adoption and Integration Program. A cross-unit team in the University Libraries implemented ORCID and promotes the program to Texas A&M’s diverse and geographically dispersed user communities. This article shares the progress of and plans for the ORCID initiative at Texas A&M.

Author name confusion has been a growing source of search and retrieval imprecision and workflow inefficiencies at research institutions worldwide. With a combined enrollment of 62,392, Texas A&M University, including its Health Science Center component, is one of the country’s five largest universities, with a highly international character (a third of the 14,000 graduate and professional students are from outside the United States) and extensive research output. Many of our researchers have non-unique names. For example, the name “Ying Zhang” is associated with 13 different records in the campus directory. Use of ORCID iDs at research-intensive institutions like Texas A&M could greatly aid in alleviating this author confusion.

Interest in ORCID originated in the University Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Communication and Digital Services, and was catalyzed in mid-2013 by the call for proposals from the Sloan-funded program. Scholarly Communication Librarian Gail Clement initiated the ORCID program with a team from the University Libraries and enthusiastic support from the Texas A&M Office of Graduate and Professional Studies and the Texas Digital Library. Their proposed initiative to integrate ORCID iDs into the thesis and dissertation workflows of graduate students, and to develop and launch a robust outreach and education program to encourage engagement with ORCID iDs, was among the nine applications selected nationwide for funding.
The ORCID @ Texas A&M Team (the Team) aimed to demonstrate the full benefits of unambiguous scholarly identity and trusted linkages between authors and their earliest works. It hoped that a successful prototype, based on integration of ORCID iDs into the Vireo Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) submission and management system, would attract the interest of not only graduate students, but also faculty advisors and campus administrators interested in scholarly reputation, institutional effectiveness, and operational improvements in the institution’s research information systems. In essence, the ORCID-ETD integration project was envisioned as the first component of a larger initiative for establishing and managing researcher identities on behalf of faculty, fellows, researchers, and students alike. The University Libraries recognizes that ORCID is an essential element underlying a useful and trusted Web of online knowledge, and has fully committed to supporting and enabling this critical standard identifier on behalf of the campus community.
Outreach and education
Throughout the initial ORCID implementation period, Texas A&M University Libraries minted more than 10,000 Texas A&M graduate student ORCID iDs, which had a 20 percent claim rate within the first nine days. Twenty-six personnel from the University Libraries and the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies provided instruction sessions or point-of-use instruction. They presented to graduate advisors, discipline specific graduate student associations, and non-discipline specific graduate student groups.  
Instruction sessions 32
Attendance 525
Information Guide downloads 709
Information Guides distributed
Additional detailed information about the project is freely available in a report accessible from the Texas A&M University Institutional Repository. 
User populations
The Texas A&M campus community encompasses a wide variety of academic programs, subject disciplines, and status levels. The Team’s initial target was graduate students within three main divisions, starting with 1 and 2:
  1. Texas A&M graduate programs of the academic colleges (based primarily in College Station)
  2. College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS), which includes both the professional Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program and research master’s and doctoral programs
  3. Health Science Center (HSC), which administers five professional or graduate units: College of Medicine, College of Nursing, Baylor College of Dentistry, College of Pharmacy, and the School of Public Health (based primarily at other campus locations) 
HSC graduate and professional programs will be incorporated next. Adding CVMBS interns and residents and HSC students and residents who publish but are not currently within the graduate college (so do not submit theses or dissertations there) is an on-demand process.  
Program adoption and adaptation in medical disciplines
At Texas A&M, CVMBS is the leader in college-level graduate student ORCID integration. Its graduate faculty advisors were aware of and interested in the ORCID program from the earliest publicity. The graduate advisors group requested presentations and recommended presentations to two student organizations that focus on research: CVMBS Graduate Student Association and CVMBS Postdoctoral Association. Additionally, CVMBS Senior Academic Advisor M. David Kessler recognized the value of ORCID iDs and identified opportunities to integrate them into the student workflow before thesis or dissertation submission (if applicable), because certain programs require article publication before thesis or dissertation publication. An outgrowth of these efforts is a pilot project by Clement, Kessler and Heather Moberly to track CVMBS student ORCID uptake and participation across time. The initial presentation of this work will be at the International Conference of Animal Health Information Specialists in June 2015. 
ORCID implementation for CVMBS and HSC poses a set of issues that differ from the Texas A&M graduate programs. First, since most CVMBS and HSC programs (with the exception of the School of Public Health) do not require a thesis or dissertation, the Vireo ETD integration will not apply for the majority of these divisions. Second, although some faculty and students are based in College Station, many are located at campuses or clinical sites in other areas of Texas. Third, a separate office administers email accounts and websites for the HSC, which will require additional cooperation and coordination of workflows. Finally, research outlets for each of these user populations are primarily in the health and medical sciences, and their faculty and students are served by the Medical Sciences Library. An example of a health sciences-oriented system is SciEncv, which cooperated with the National Library of Medicine so users can create SciENcv profiles from data stored in their ORCID records. The addition of these user communities will make the subject domains covered by the Texas A&M ORCID community more robust, and could lead to new collaborations among all three user groups. 
As of April 2015, Texas A&M University Libraries has minted ORCID iDs for 16,917 graduate students and several hundred faculty and staff. Approximately a quarter of those ORCID owners have claimed their identifiers and have:
  • enriched their profiles with biographical, educational and employment information
  • supplied additional versions of their names in English and other languages
  • imported publications, grant awards, and other research outputs
The movement to establish and manage scholarly and professional identity using ORCID is growing very quickly in Aggieland.