An ORCID discussion group for researchers

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.

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5 Responses to An ORCID discussion group for researchers

  1. Tony Hammond says:

    Hi Martin:

    Nice post. The question on my mind though is whether ORCID will be just another local database identifier or whether it will reach out and provide us with a global identifier. In the Web world that means that it needs to have an expression as a full-blown URI so that it can participate as a first-class object on the data web. Unfortunately, many identifiers of import still remain second-class citizens on the Web. A case in point would be PubMed identifiers (PMID) which even now lack a unique URI expression. (Or if there is one I certainly have not been able to locate it.)

    And why does this matter? Two reasons. By giving a URI expression the domain name acts both as namespace and guarantor of the identifier. And moreover by exposing the identifier as a full URI we then have a unique key within the global graph and are able to match unambiguously on a single data element – the identifier. And this the key (pun intended) to navigating the data web.

    I really hope ORCID is planning to participate in the global game.



  2. Tony Hammond says:

    OK. Posted that last comment to the discussion group. Looking to get some feedback there. :)

  3. Martin Fenner says:

    Tony, thanks a lot for your comments. I posted a reply in the discussion group. Briefly, I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to reference ORCID identifiers by a full-blown URI.

    As I have written elsewhere, I think that we need not only a unique researcher identifier, but also have to think about where and how we connect this identifier with scientific contributions.

  4. I believe that ORCID or something like that should be a self-sustaining and individualized endeavor. At the end of the day, it is interesting that the solution to the problem of a de-duplication of individuals is being done by institutions. As such, if no clear benefit is provided to the individual researcher, its not going to be widely adopted. So, the question is.. What is the benefit to the individual?

  5. Martin Fenner says:

    Boris, there are obviously many different ways how this problem could be approached. The ORCID initiative believes in a combination of researchers claiming their own works and institutions, publishers, etc. also claiming authorships. There are several reasons for this approach, most importantly that with a critical mass of users very different things are possible. I mention some benefits to the individual researcher in the second paragraph of my post.

    How do you approach author disambiguation at ORWIK?