What is ORCID, anyway?

Laure Haak's picture

What is ORCID?

At its core, ORCID is a persistent registry of unique and persistent identifiers for researchers. For these identifiers to be effective, the research community needs to know they exist, and see value in using them. Over 37,000 researchers have registered for an ORCID iD. But, to realize the full potential of ORCID, research information systems must embed ORCID iDs and link back with ORCID to synchronize and update research activity data.

That means, in addition to being a registry, ORCID is an outreach initiative with the goal of connecting research and researchers. We are working with organizations throughout the research community: publishers, funders, universities, professional societies, ID providers, vendors, third party developers… to document use cases, develop workflows, and support integration with ORCID. We already see ORCID iDs being collected during submission of manuscripts, and soon they’ll be part of grant application processes. We see ORCID data being consumed to calculate usage metrics. We see ORCID iDs being linked to other identifier schemes and repositories. Universities are working to link iDs to their internal systems and professional societies to their membership processes.

ORCID is where it is today because there are some very real benefits of a unique and persistent identifier for researchers. I am heartened by the numbers of registrants, the numbers and great ideas of people contributing to the ORCID iDeas Forum, and the numbers of members and integrators. But to be truly successful we need much broader community participation.

What is that going to take?

First, Both the iD and the organization need to be persistent. ORCID is completely member supported. We are finishing out 2012 with 25 members representing a spectrum of the research community. Thanks to start-up support from the community, we in a stable financial position with operating expenses covered for the next 9-12 months.  We will be working to increase our member rolls in 2013 so we can support operations in the long term.

Second, ORCID needs to engage more organizations and establish more system-to-system linkages. You’ve suggested several organizations and systems to integrate with—all great ideas. However, ORCID cannot implement linkages unilaterally. We would appreciate your help identifying contacts and talking to colleagues in these organizations to get the process started. Further, while we provide our APIs and documentation openly on the ORCID Knowledge Base, we will be doing more to reduce the burden on integrators by creating frameworks for integration available to the community. 

Third, we ask for some patience as we grow to fit your needs.

Thank you. We love your iDeas and your enthusiasm. Keep them coming!