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2015: The Year in Review

Laure Haak's picture

As the year nears its close, it is time to mark up to our goals and give thanks to those who helped us along the way.


ORCID is a non-profit organization.  Our revenue model is based on organizational membership. Our 2015 goal was to build up membership to position us in 2016 to reach “break even”, meaning expenses = revenue.  Two things are helping us reach this goal.  We formally launched a consortium membership model at the beginning of 2015, which so far has been adopted by six organizations: Jisc, ANVUR, AAF, CIC, GWLA, and NERL, together representing over 200 new ORCID members.  We were also able to onboard a global membership team, thanks to a substantial (dare I say heaven-sent?) grant from the The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.  Led by Doug Wright, this team has been working in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Europe to foster understanding of ORCID, build partnerships, and bring on new member organizations, which can in turn support the adoption and use of ORCID throughout the research community. Hear from a few of our members in this short video.

Researcher Adoption

We started the year with the goal of doubling the number of researchers registered for an ORCID iD, to 2 million.  As of today, we are close, with more than 1.82 million live records (see our Statistics page for the most recent numbers).  ORCID records are associated with nearly 5 million unique DOIs, and over 2 million records each in Web of Science, Scopus, Europe PubMed Central are associated with iDs. That means researchers are starting to feel the benefits of iD-supported search and discoverability. We still have a ways to go, both in terms of registrations and use. The launch of auto-update by both Crossref and Datacite means that researchers are also benefitting from "enter once - reuse many."  Those researchers who use their iD when they submit a paper or dataset, need only to approve (once!) Crossref and DataCite to make updates, and their ORCID record--and any system connected to it--will be updated with the DOI and associated information on publication.

Streamlining Implementation

We’ve been collecting and developing effective practices on ORCID implementation. During 2015, we helped lead a community effort to define and implement acknowledgement of peer review activities. In February, we published a report on our Alfred P. Sloan-funded project supporting university adoption. In April, a broad consortium of Australian organizations released a joint statement on ORCID; and in June, Jisc published a summary of its ORCID pilot project.  We also released our Member Support Center in early 2015. Designed as a one-stop shop for ORCID implementation, the member support center combines our existing technical documentation with sector-specific workflow guides, and planning and communication resources.  For the research community to derive most benefit, each sector must play its part in collecting and connecting ORCID iDs. In 2016 we’ll be expanding this resource to include specific actions and desired outcomes for each sector.  Behind much of this is our support team, which, thanks again to the Helmsley Charitable Trust, we were able to expand to enable regional and language-specific coverage in Asia-Pacific, Americas, and Europe/Africa/Middle East.

International Reach

Using ORCID is not just about APIs and technical implementation. Certainly, infrastructure must be built; for the most part researchers should not have to worry about how it works.  However, for the vision of “input information once and reuse across systems” to be realized, researchers must opt-in, register, and use their iD.  For that to happen, there needs to be a place for them to use the iD, and clear instructions on why and how.  Here, the Helmsley grant comes into play yet again; we were able to entice Alice Meadows to join our team and lead our communications efforts.  The Helmsley grant funds regular regional workshops led by our membership team, which has helped us both listen and engage communities in Africa, Middle East, Latin America, and Asia, in addition to our regular Outreach Meetings - this year in Barcelona and San Francisco. We are also involved in the THOR project, funded by a European Commission H2020 grant to our ORCID EU affiliate, which adds European-focused engagement and training on persistent identifiers.  We added two more languages to the Registry interface, too: Italian and Czech.  And, with our multi-lingual staff will be working over the course of the coming year to translate some of our implementation materials.

We have a lot to be thankful for: Helmsley Trust support, our 10(!) new staff, continuing enthusiasm for ORCID including growing adoption and mandates announced in the funding community, and our engaged Board and Steering Groups.  

What about 2016?

A sneak peak at 2016:  we’ll be focusing on our infrastructure, specifically:  

  • Ensuring our technologies are up-to-date and scalable
  • Implementing internal processes to enable communications throughout our virtual office
  • Enabling community-facing portals to support information sharing
  • Weaving communications on effective practices throughout our implementation documentation
  • Continuing our work to ensure ORCID reaches financial sustainability

In other words, making sure our part of the research infrastructure ‘plumbing’ works, providing the support that researchers -- and the broader scholarly community -- need to be able to spend more time on the important work they’re doing.

Join us in the journey!