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The Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier, or ORCID, is a non-profit effort providing digital identifiers to the research community to ensure correct authorship data is available and more transparent. Brian Kelly welcomes the widespread adoption of the unique ORCID ID arguing that it should be a particular priority for researchers whose position in their host institution is uncertain: which is to say, everyone.

I was pleased to see the news item published by the Jisc which announced UK specialists welcome launch of ORCID as a tool to identify researchers.

The news item describes how:

Jisc joins organisations from across the UK higher education network to welcome the launch of the Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID).

and goes on to describe the benefits which ORCID can provide:

There are more academic articles being published than ever before and more authors working together. In order to be able to identify an author correctly a unique identifier is needed that can then link to each author’s publications. ORCID provides this link and if widely used would:

  • Ensure researchers get credit for their own work
  • Ensure researchers and learners looking for information will be able to find academic papers more accurately
  • Enable better management of researcher publication records, making it easier for them to create CVs, reduce form filling and improve reporting to funders
  • Create a means of linking information between institutions and systems internationally
  • Enable researchers to keep track of their own work with funders, publishers and institutions around the world.

It also provides researchers with their own ORCID. Researchers are able to control how much information it holds about them and who that is shared with. The adoption of ORCID is a solution to the current challenges of being able to search for work accurately. By researchers volunteering to adopt its usage it could improve discoverability and accurate referencing.

As described in a post which explained Why You Should Do More Than Simply Claiming Your ORCID ID I feel it is important that researchers claim their ORCID ID (I will use two words as I suspect that this will less ambiguous than ‘claiming an ORCID‘). The post gave the reasons why I feel that researchers should do more than simply claim their ORCID ID and go on to include their ORCID IDs together with the ORCID IDs of their co-authors in references to their papers. The reason I gave for doing this was to minimise the risks of losing connections with co-authors, who may have changed their affiliation and thus no longer have their original email address and institutional Web presence.

In light of the recent Announcement: UKOLN – Looking Ahead which described how the Jisc “will only provide core funding to the UKOLN Innovation Support Centre, up to July 2013 but not beyond” there will clearly be a need for myself and my colleagues to minimise the risks of losing the connections with our research outputs.

Since the first bullet point of the benefits which ORCID can provide is to ‘Ensure researchers get credit for their own work’ it would appear that claiming an ORCID ID should be a priority for researchers whose position in their host institution is uncertain. But doesn’t this apply to everyone? From one perspective this might be relevant in light of funding uncertainties in the sector which are compounded by last month’s announcement of the “Huge Drop in Students Starting University“. But beyond the current economic situation, every researcher will, at some stage, leave their host institution (whether to take up a new post elsewhere, retirement, redundancy or death in service).

It would appear that every researcher who wishes to ensure that they get credit for their own work, and can ensure that such credit  can be managed when they leave their current institution should benefit from claiming an ORCID ID. As described in the post, claiming an ORCID ID “is a painless exercise, taking about 30 seconds to complete”, so this is something which all researchers should be able to do.

In the Jisc news item Neil Jacobs, programme director of Jisc, commented: “We recognise that this is only the start and that work needs to be done to implement ORCID in the UK.  However, we have a solid beginning and we look forward to working with our partners across the sector to build on it.

As is clear from the ORCID Knowledge base many suggestions have been made on ways in which the service can be enhanced. But the simplest action lies in the hands of the individual researchers: sign up for an ORCID ID!

This article was originally posted on Brian Kelly’s UK Web Focus blog and is reposted with permission.

Note: This article gives the views of the author(s), and not the position of the Impact of Social Sciences blog, nor of the London School of Economics.

About the author:

Brian Kelly is responsible for the UK Web Focus blog and this is complemented by Brian’s @briankelly Twitter account.

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