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Digital Identifiers Improve Recognition and Credit: ORCID

Connectivity and integrated data are moving ahead as the best minds in metadata, digital identifiers and networked discovery collaborate to ensure that appropriate credit and recognition are given for scientific outputs of all types. Once connected to the research infrastructure through a personal and unique digital identifier, a researcher’s work becomes more discoverable and their need to reenter information into multiple systems to comply with funder, institutional and publisher requirements ultimately will be reduced.



Connected Work for a Complete Picture

An Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) identifier is a unique digital identifier for a researcher, akin to a personal bar code. An ORCID identifier unambiguously distinguishes you and your work from that of other researchers with similar names and connects your work across versions of your name. Using the equivalent of a digital name when you publish seamlessly connects you to your journal publications, newspaper or magazine articles, book chapters, dissertations, datasets, figshare items, newsletter content, grant awards, peer review activities and more. The connection is independent of how each of these entities formats your name and remains in place whether you change your name, your institution, your country or your field of research.

Because your identifier becomes a part of your published works, it enables others to discover the complete scope of your contributions regardless of which database they are stored in or search engine is being used. Uniquely linked to you and only you, your ORCID identifier can be used to update your professional social profiles including Scopus, ResearcherID and LinkedIn. You can even download a QR code expressing your ORCID identifier for printing on stickers to place on posters and other presentations! This allows potential funders and employers to see your complete record, wherever they are, with a smartphone. Why miss an opportunity to impress?


Collaboration for Improved Recognition and Credit

The ability to uniquely and correctly identify oneself can greatly benefit researchers who contribute in areas outside of journal articles, including curriculum development, policy recommendations and professional activities such as peer review. Publishers are actively pursuing additional venues to provide recognition and credit for the entire range of a scientist’s efforts and to make visible contributions beyond the traditional published article, including peer review. F1000 is participating in ORCID’s recently launched peer review program for their F1000 Prime and F1000 Research reviewers; PLOS will be participating in the future.


Scholarly societies are also looking to use ORCID to provide recognition and credit, according to Alice Meadows, ORCID Director of Communications. The American Geophysical Union wants “not only to recognize peer review activity but to map that against membership so they can see the important work being done by their community in this area,” she says. ORCID is collaborating with to incorporate contributor identifiers into web annotations and related publisher workflows. PLOS encourages researchers to include their ORCID identifier when submitting manuscripts and generally when updating their profiles. To facilitate a complete and accurate picture of each author’s contributions, PLOS will be adding ORCID information and newly released Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT) information on author contributions to the existing metadata that is pushed to CrossRef.


Unique Identifiers Help Funders and Researchers Alike

Funders from the Wellcome Trust to the National Institutes of Health now request that grantees use digital identifiers such as ORCID in their systems, and many other funding agencies around the world are following suit. As well as helping funders track the outcomes of their grant dollars, connections between identifiers, publications and grants reduces the burden on grant applicants by providing a means to automate aspects of post-award reporting. As publishers, universities, funders and ORCID continue to work together to connect research data between one another, the key beneficiary of this increasingly integrated environment is clear: the individual researcher.

Image credit: Dale,

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