Alice Meadows's picture

ORCID – a researcher identifier solution which enables a wide range of improvements to the scholarly communications ecosystem – will now be offered to UK higher education institutions through a national consortium arrangement operated by Jisc, a UK charity which promotes the use of technology within education and research.

The agreement, negotiated by Jisc Collections, will enable universities to benefit from reduced ORCID membership costs and enhanced technical support. This should accelerate adoption and provide a smoother path to ORCID integration for  UK universities. It will  ultimately help to transform the management, re-use, and efficiency of the UK research output by improving the integration of research systems and processes, and enhancing data quality. 

More than 50 UK universities have expressed an interest in joining an ORCID consortium in 2015, with a further 22 saying they intend to join at a later stage.

Rachel Bruce, deputy chief innovation officer, Jisc, said: “Previously it has not been possible to easily associate valuable research outputs - be they patents or papers – with their authors, collaborators and institutions. This has led to extremely inefficient research management and difficulty in identifying what has been produced. The result? Ineffective reporting and sharing of research, which impacts on both individual researcher’s and universities’ profiles. Wider adoption and use of ORCID is the solution, helping the UK continue to deliver a first-class research system and offering other benefits, such as additional cost savings and efficiencies.”

Feedback from a recent pilot study with eight UK universities showed that organisations that have adopted ORCID expect to see measurable efficiency improvements within two years of implementation - especially in internal data quality, streamlining of publications management, and enhanced reporting to funders – with accrued benefits increasing steadily over the following three to four years.

The importance of this endeavor to research is also demonstrated by the increasing number of funders requesting ORCID identifiers on grant applications. The Wellcome Trust will make ORCID a mandatory requirement from August 2015, while both HEFCE and RCUK have shown high levels of support for the initiative.

In addition, the envisaged enhancements to systems and processes integrating ORCID should also play an important role in helping universities respond to funders’ open access (OA) policies, for example as part of the next REF, supporting the move towards an open culture. Universities see ORCID as a crucial service, easing the workload of their researchers in ensuring compliance with OA mandates, making research more visible and discoverable, and creating opportunities for international and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

With the launch of the consortium, underpinned by increasing buy-in at a policy, as well as practical, level, the adoption of ORCID in the UK has reached a tipping point. Bruce continued: “As part of our work with UK universities and funders, there is now a consensus that ORCID is the optimal researcher identifier system. These discussions have also identified a strong demand for Jisc to establish a UK consortium to ensure that the inherent benefits of widespread ORCID adoption are realised. I’m extremely pleased we are now able to offer this arrangement that will contribute to better research information management in the UK.”

ORCID provides additional use cases and detailed documentation on implementation in university or research institution research information systems. Josh Brown, ORCID’s regional director for Europe, said: “This agreement is a tremendous step forward for ORCID and all our partners in the UK. We are very excited to welcome the new members and integrations to our global community. As well as webinars and workshops to help UK HEIs to make the most of this opportunity, we will be helping to develop new services for researchers and research data via our European projects and Jisc’s research data spring.”