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The O in ORCID

Laure Haak's picture

We’ve been using the acronym ORCID for a while. Every so often someone asks, what does it stand for? ORCID is short for Open Researcher and Contributor ID.  (I also like the ring of Open Researcher Community ID, but that is a topic for another blog.)

The O stands for open.  ORCID is strongly committed to openness.  Of our 10 principles, 7 of them deal directly with openness in at least one of its meanings.  But what does that mean?  I’ve heard Open refer to concepts as varied as free, no barriers to access, democratic, transparent, and as shorthand for open source.  In our first post-launch blog, I wanted to walk through what we at ORCID intend by open.

Free. ORCID provides free access to the Registry for individuals.  You can register, share data, link your record to other systems and identifiers, import and export data, and search without charge.    We will also be posting a datafile, annually, containing the public data that you contribute to the Registry.  This datafile will be available for free download.

No Barriers to Access. For use of the Registry, there is no test or requirement to qualify as a researcher. As of the end of November, over 25,000 of you have registered for an ORCID iD!  For interacting with our staff, board members, and other members of the ORCID community, we invite you to attend one of our bi-annual Outreach meetings to hear about our progress and participate in discussions about new initiatives—there is no registration fee, and those who cannot attend in person can listen in to our Webcast. 

Democratic. Participation in ORCID is open to any person or organization. Any ORCID member is eligible to nominate a representative for the Board.   Our Board, broadly representative of the ORCID community, is a key point of contact with the community and is responsible for setting strategy, overseeing our budget, establishing policies, and providing guidance on high-level priorities.   The board brings multiple perspectives to its discussions, and its decisions require a majority vote. In addition, you may self-nominate for participation on Working Groups, and you may vote on new features (see above).

Transparent. ORCID strives to be a transparent organization.  Policies on terms of use, privacy, membership, and fees are all available on our Website.  On the “What is ORCID” page, you can access information on our policies, principles, and mission. We also have created a new governance area where you can find information on our bylaws, incorporation papers, board meeting summaries, and our annual financial statements.

Open Source. As stated in our principles, “all software developed by ORCID will be publicly released under an Open Source Software license approved by the Open Source Initiative.”  We are working with our Technical Working Group to develop a plan, which we’ll be presenting to the board for review at its January meeting.  One of the issues that came up in these discussions was the need to include in the plan infrastructure to support an open source developer community. We’ve made great progress in this infrastructure already. It has been very exciting to see the iDeas and feedback coming in to the Forum—we’ve received nearly 200 contributions from over 600 of you. Your contributions to date include patches and new functionality that we have already included in one of four updates since we launched 6 weeks ago. We are looking forward to continued engagement as we lead up to our code release and upcoming hackathon.

So, what do we mean by open?  In short, all of the above.  Thank you for your participation!