Introducing Josh Brown: ORCID EU Communications Manager

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I joined ORCID on May 1 as the Communications Manager for Europe. I have spent years building collaborations in support of open and accessible research, so working with  ORCID is a real privilege for me.  I will be supporting ORCID's European activities, and sharing the results of our many projects, with a special focus in the coming months on the ORCID and Datacite Interoperability Network (ODIN)  project. I look forward to building on our existing relationships in support of Rebecca Bryant's amazing work in building the international ORCID community.

My background is in Information Management, with a Masters from the University of Brighton. While I was working on my MA, I was also employed to support research assessment at the University of Sussex, including the UK Research Excellence Framework bibliometrics pilot,  which is where I first encountered the problem of author disambiguation at scale. Working to a crazy deadline to clean 7 years of publication records from a university's worth of researchers while everyone else was on their summer holiday really brought the issue to life for me...

After Sussex, I coordinated the University of London institutional repository consortium (SHERPA-LEAP), with the repository teams from 15 London Universities and Colleges. From there, I moved to Jisc, where I served as Programme Manager for Research Information, and worked on their Scholarly Communications and Research Identifier programmes. It was while we were gathering requirements from the UK research community for a solution to the author disambiguation problem that ORCID appeared on the horizon. By the time ORCID launched in 2012, there was a clear consensus that it was the way forward. Whilst at Jisc, I was lucky enough to work with partners from across the UK to implement standards in research information management, and to work with our international partners, from CASRAI and euroCRIS (both are now ORCID partner organizations) to the Knowledge Exchange and the Coalition for Networked Information exploring innovations in Scholarly Communication and Open Access.

I was able to combine all of these in my next role, as the Consortium Manager for the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3), a radical new initiative, based at CERN with partners from more than 30 countries around the world, to 'flip' the published literature in High-Energy Physics to Open Access. This experience of practical innovation, which has been compared to building the rails in front of the train as it moves, has been fascinating and I hope will equip me to contribute to the growing success of ORCID - where so much of what we do is new.

Fundamentally, the "ID" in ORCID is the key to our purpose and to our usefulness. However, for me, philosophically speaking, the "O" in ORCID is what gives us the chance to be much more than useful. Openness gives us the chance to get into the really exciting stuff, to work in new ways and do more of those difficult, rewarding things that have never been done before. If you want a few examples of just how interesting these possibilities are, take a look at Laure's high-altitude musings, as set out in her most recent blog post.  There are lots of questions, to be sure, but a lot of possibilities too. ORCID is established now and growing fast, and it's an amazing time to jump on the train and start laying tracks. Should I be nervous? Probably. Should I be excited? Definitely!