Natasha Simons's picture

About the writer: Natasha Simons is a Research Data Management Specialist with the Australian National Data Service, an organisation set up by the Australian Government to enhance the value of data for researchers, research institutions, and the nation as part of its wider National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. Located at Griffith University in Brisbane, Natasha serves on the Council of Australian University Librarians Research Advisory Committee and is an ORCID Ambassador.


ORCID is continuing to attract a high level of interest and enthusiasm in the Australian research sector, reflected in attendance at two national roundtables and the issuing of an ORCID Joint Statement of Principle endorsed by Universities Australia, the Australasian Research Management Society, the Council of Australian University Librarians and the Australian National Data Service. Australia’s two major research funding agencies, the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council, have also issued a joint statement on ORCID and are looking to integrate it into their grant application systems.

Joint Statements

On 14 April 2015 at an ORCID Implementers Roundtable in Canberra, the Joint Statement of Principle: ORCID - Connecting Researchers and Research was launched by representatives of Universities Australia (UA), the Australasian Research Management Society (ARMS), the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and the Australian National Data Service (ANDS). The statement, which has been endorsed by all four organisations, proposes that Australia’s research sector broadly embrace the use of ORCID as a common researcher identifier. It states:

As a matter of principle we:

1. Recognise the value of unique researcher identifiers in reducing red tape, increasing efficiency, improving data quality, integrating disparate data, promoting the reuse of data, and enhancing the online presence of Australian research to the global market; and

2. Commit to support the use of ORCID as a common researcher identifier.

On the same day, Australia’s two major research funding agencies – the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) – also released a joint statement on ORCID in which they encouraged all researchers applying for funding to have an ORCID identifier.

Background

In July 2014 ANDS and CAUL co-hosted a very successful ORCID Roundtable in Canberra to explore institutional perspectives and facilitate discussion around a possible national approach to ORCID adoption. The Roundtable brought together heads of Research Offices and University Libraries from across the country, along with representatives of the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council and government-funded research institutions. Laurel Haak, Executive Director of ORCID, also attended the Roundtable providing the international context of ORCID adoption and enabling a direct line of communication for questions.

One of the outcomes of the Roundtable was an action to explore the possibility of a common position/statement/principle on researcher identification between CAUL, ARMS, ARC and NHMRC. An example of such a statement was provided in the European Commission H2020 Grantee Guidelines. ANDS therefore co-ordinated a small ORCID working group comprised of representatives from CAUL, ARMS, ARC, NHMRC, and UA. Over a very short period of time, the working group drafted the Joint Statement of Principle and facilitated its path through various executive meetings. CAUL, ARMS, UA and ANDS officially endorsed the Joint Statement. The ARC and NHMRC provided input into the Joint Statement through their participation in the working group and released their own joint statement. Both statements were released on the same day as the ORCID Implementers Roundtable, which was attended by representatives of research institutions from across the country in addition to representatives of the funding agencies, Thomson Reuters, Elsevier and Digital Science. Laurel Haak and Robert Peters, ORCID Technical Developer, also attended the 2015 roundtable.

Benefits

The Joint Statement of Principle acknowledges “unique identification of researchers is difficult for research institutions, publishers, funding bodies and researchers themselves, making it problematic to accurately link research publications, data and other research activities to the right researcher.” It recognises that the use of ORCID in Australia will have many tangible benefits, for our researchers, research institutions, funding agencies and the nation overall. The Statement lists the many benefits of ORCID for researchers, for the university/research institution/agency, and for the nation. It highlights international and local adoption of ORCID, noting a significant number of Australian institutions have either joined ORCID or are considering membership, and concludes with a consideration of implementation options that identifies key issues as privacy, cost and communication.

The NHMRC and ARC joint statement identifies similar benefits, stating, “The use of ORCID may help streamline research administration and reporting for researchers and administering institutions through facilitating disambiguation of researchers and research outputs and enabling the linking and reuse of high quality, persistent data such as publications and research grants.” In 2014, the NHMRC enabled the inclusion of researchers’ ORCID identifiers when applying for grants and the ARC is considering a similar move.

Linda O'Brien, who represented the Council of Australian University Librarians on the ORCID working group said, “This provides an exciting opportunity to increase the visibility, and hence the impact, of the great work of Australia's researchers. I was delighted to be part of a great team who have worked collaboratively to develop, and to garner support from their respective organisations, for the Joint Statement of Principle.”

ARMS Treasurer, Michelle Duryea, who represented the ARMS Executive Committee on the working group said, “Several research-leading nations, such as the United Kingdom and Denmark, are in the process of integrating ORCID identifiers into their local systems.  The adoption of ORCID across the Australian research sector will position us as a global leader in research management practices and contribute to Australia being viewed favourably as a collaborative partner.  I encourage our members in New Zealand and Singapore to also consider similar ORCID adoption initiatives.”

Ross Wilkinson, Executive Director of the Australian National Data Service said, “Addressing national challenges at the global scale requires Australian researchers to be connected into the global research network.  ORCID will make these connections easier.”

Next steps

The two ORCID joint statements signal a significant step forward for the Australian research sector in a relatively short space of time. However, the benefits of ORCID won’t be realised by simply stating our support. The challenge ahead is to turn the words – and the enthusiasm behind them – into action. To this end, the ORCID working group comprised of representatives from UA, CAUL, ARMS, ANDS, and more recently the Australian Access Federation (AAF), will continue to work with the Universities Australia Deputy Vice Chancellor’s Research group, the ARC, NHMRC and other publicly-funded research agencies to progress options for sector-wide adoption of ORCID, including potential joint licensing and implementation approaches.