If there's anything researchers hold near and dear, it's their overall body of work. And rightfully so. Every contribution to the academic community at large deserves its fair share of respect, as well as proper attribution.
However, there's just one issue – the sheer volume of global scientific output is, to be frank, staggering. Publishers have flooded the market with thousands upon thousands of releases over the past few years alone, and there's plenty more on the way. That's why, amid this proverbial sky-high mound, it's possible for those serving in coauthorial roles to end up lost in the shuffle.
Also, with so many common names among researchers all over the world, imagine being the tenth "A. Smith" featured in a particular journal only to be mistaken for some other "A. Smith" across the country. Or, perhaps, publishing a book in a foreign language only to be the sole name mistranslated. Or, having to undergo an identity change, for whatever reason, only to be immediately disassociated with all past publications.
What a mess. But these scenarios do happen, and quite often. Thankfully, there are identification tools available to crack down on misattribution.
What Is an ORCID iD?
ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor iD) offer unique virtual identifiers, also known as ORCID iDs, that track users' real-time achievements. Whether it be a paper published in a scientific journal or a dataset uploaded to a repository, any submission embedded with an iD is tracked by ORCID through its online registry, ensuring that users are given proper accreditation.
The process is simple, really:
- Sign-up for a personal iD on ORCID.org.
- Embed that iD in any submission, grant application, or research workflow.
- Gain credit accordingly.
How to Register
Available worldwide, free of charge, it's quick, easy, and simple to register for an ORCID iD. How simple? Well, the initial set-up takes less than a minute – just enter a valid name, email address, and password. Then add any prior experience, publications, or awards.
Done. See, pretty easy, right?
Now that registration is said and done, and ORCID has generated a new online identity, which will, in theory, be embedded in all of the user’s future academic activity so as to optimize searchability, here are two additional steps—completely optional—that'll strengthen the link between a user's iD and identity:
Link ORCID iD to Social Media Accounts
Users can share their iD on social media to optimize searchability. Just add ORCID iD details into a profile’s biographical section on websites like LinkedIn, ResearchGate, and SelectedWorks. Upon inclusion, professional, or personal, accounts will pop up whenever a user’s iD is searched online, providing another level of identity confirmation. Social media accounts can also be shared on a user’s ORCID profile after the registration process.
Connect With Schools on ORCID
Researchers can connect their iD to universities they associate with, as an employee or alumni, so as to solidify their identity even further via affiliation. Some schools, as a bonus, even monitor these connections and feature select content/profiles as a courtesy.
Future of Identification
Many funding, repository, research, CRIS, and submission systems are now ORCID iD compatible, with more and more platforms integrating monthly. Some publications are even going so far as to mandate iDs during the submission process – a noticeable, bold sign of growing acceptance.
There's definitely a solid market for ORCID—a genuine need for this service—but innovation, after all, does have a way of sneaking up on us. Virtual identifiers don't appear to be some fly-by-night fad; rather, they are a necessary advancement in academic publishing.