Step by Step: Collecting and Connecting ORCID iDs in the Publishing Process

Laure Haak's picture

Increasingly, publication processes are relying on the use of an identifier infrastructure to enable workflows and information processing. Crossref has been providing persistent identifiers (DOIs) for articles since 2000, and connecting these to an infrastructure to ensure persistent access to the source document.  More recently, the ORCID identifier registry was launched in 2012, and ORCID iDs are now becoming an accepted and, in some cases, required component of publishing. 

At last week's JATS Conference in Bethesda, Maryland, ORCID Ambassador Angela Cochran's keynote - Integrate to Innovate: Using Standards to Push Content Forward - focused on the important role played by standards and identifiers (including ORCID) in facilitating innovation in publishing. At the same meeting, we presented a paper on ORCID integration by publishers, with the goal of identifying and improving community awareness of effective metadata management practices. We worked with editors, technologists, and publishing managers at PLOS, Hindawi, and Springer Nature – all publisher members of ORCID and early adopters who have incorporated iDs in their workflows, from paper submission to Crossref deposit - to better understand current practice and challenges to integrating ORCID iDs end-to-end in the publishing process.  With online writing and publishing system, Overleaf, we explored opportunities for leveraging electronic publishing platforms to streamline the iD collection process.

This joint effort describes the steps needed to ensure effective use of ORCID – including standard xml calls – as well as some issues with current practice in need of attention. You can read the full paper here.

Some highlights from the discussion:

  • Collect ORCID identifiers using the ORCID API; don’t use search and fetch or other manual methods. This ensures the correct iD is connected to the author and the paper.
  • Consider implementing ORCID single sign-on (SSO) and connecting the iD to the author profile in your publishing platform, to provide immediate benefits to your authors and streamline the collection of iDs in subsequent submissions.
  • Investigate xml-based text editors for submissions and revision processes.  Authors can connect their iD into these platforms, streamlining the submission process and also offering options for collecting co-author iDs.
  • Passing iDs between submission and production systems is a real problem.  Getting information to flow between these systems often involves manual steps, during which iDs can be lost or altered. In many cases the iD is not passed at all.
  • For those publishers who are able to move iDs to and through production, there can remain some challenges in passing iDs into their abstracting/indexing services. 
  • If iDs make it to indexing, Crossref has automated a process to update author ORCID records.  This benefit (in addition to SSO) is a strong incentive for authors and publishers to use ORCID.

Identifiers are a package deal: they need to be integrated into standard research workflows in a way that reinforces a familiar user experience, does not add to researcher workload, uses best practices including authenticated collection, and provides benefits to all parties. These benefits include increased data processing automation, reduced administrative burden, and improved search accuracy and discoverability.