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ORCID has been awarded an 18-month, $3 million grant by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to develop the infrastructure and capacity to support international adoption and technical integration of ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor) identifiers, through staff expansion, regional workshops and localized member technical support.

Enabling digital scholarly communication

ORCID is a nonprofit organization that aims to solve the name ambiguity problem in scholarly communications. Name ambiguity poses a significant challenge for the research enterprise because researchers are unable to locate information or data they need to conduct their own work, wasting countless hours and resources in the process.  To this end, ORCID maintains an open Registry, where researchers may obtain a unique, persistent identifier to use across their research “transactions,” such as grant applications, manuscripts and thesis submissions, and shared datasets.  ORCID works with the community to ensure that the ORCID identifier is collected, stored and embedded in key documents like grants, publications and datasets so that researchers’ contributions can be easily found, cited and used, thus improving the efficiency and transparency in scholarly studies. 

As the research community grows, becomes more international, and increasingly uses digital means to communicate, the use of authors’ names are not enough.  Different people share names, there are issues with transliteration between languages, some people change names and even people with fairly uncommon names may have published using name variations such as first initials, last name or full first and last name.  Over 1.2 million researchers have registered for an ORCID identifier since the registry launched in October 2012.

“With billions spent in biomedical research each year, it is increasingly important – for funders, tenure committees, and the scientific community – to track the contributions of researchers around the world,” said Betsy Fader, director of the Biomedical Research Infrastructure Program at the Helmsley Charitable Trust. Brooke Rosenzweig, Program Officer at the Trust, added: “We are thrilled to be supporting this effort to expand usership of ORCID’s researcher ID system, a crucial service that has the power to improve the searchability of research and maximize the visibility of a scholar’s contributions and publications.”

Overview of the project

As a fundamental principle, ORCID is organized to support open access – to the Registry, to data and to software.   ORCID strives to transcend discipline, geographic, national and institutional boundaries.  Funding from the Helmsley Charitable Trust provides surge support for ORCID to build out its international capacity. ORCID will launch a community engagement program that provides in-country support and regular workshops in four geographic regions: Asia and Pacific Rim countries; Europe; Middle East and African countries; and across the Americas.

Through this engagement with the community of researchers and institutions, ORCID will develop localized technical support infrastructure and materials to support the implementation of persistent identifiers in research workflows.  

Laurel L. Haak, ORCID’s Executive Director, said, “This grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust supports the ramp-up and sustainability of ORCID as a community organization, so that ORCID transaction points can be implemented with confidence, benefiting current and future generations of researchers.”  One direct consequence of this award is that ORCID is hiring.  Open positions are posted on the ORCID team page at


ORCID ( is a community-driven nonprofit organization that aims to solve the name ambiguity problem in research and scholarly communications by creating a central registry of unique identifiers for individual researchers and an open and transparent linking mechanism between ORCID identifiers and persistent identifiers for people, organizations and research activities and outputs.  Connecting these identifiers can improve the research and scholarly discovery process, increase the efficiency of research funding, and support sharing and collaboration within the research community.  


The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. The Trust’s Biomedical Research Infrastructure Program seeks to strengthen the research tools, training and collaborative platforms for the health sciences and enhance the quality and reproducibility of biomedical data and findings. For more information on the Trust and its programs, visit