The Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID) initiative is working on a unique researcher identifier for the creation of a clear and unambiguous scholarly record. The initiative is supported by more than 140 universities, research institutes, funding organizations, publishers and other organizations interested in scholarly communication. The ORCID system will become publicly available in the first half of 2011.
Individual researchers will benefit from a unique researcher identifier because this identifier facilitates the manuscript submission process, and the creation of CVs and publication lists for institutional websites. Unique researcher identifiers will also help discover scholarly works and will make it easier to attribute scientific contributions other than papers – e.g. research datasets – to individual researchers.
Researchers have a lot to gain from unique researcher identifiers, and they might also have genuine concerns. Because of my interest in scholarly communication, and unique researcher identifiers in particular, I became involved with the ORCID initiative in early 2010. When ORCID became a non-profit organization in August, I was asked to sit on the Board of Directors – one of many interesting things that have happened to me as the result of my science blogging. But although ORCID is certainly open to all individuals and organizations interested in author disambiguation, most researchers simply want to be informed about the progress of the initiative, ask specific questions and start using their identifier at some point.
The ORCID website is a good starting for this information, but to get individual answers to specific researcher questions about ORCID, Kristi Holmes, Gudmundur Thorisson, Cameron Neylon and myself today started the ORCID Researchers Google Group. Feel free to ask your ORCID-related researcher questions there, or contact us via email or Twitter.