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All about flow: ORCID and research information management systems

Josh Brown's picture

As a community, we need to make more and better use of the growing volume and variety of research information. We need to recognise the full portfolio of a researcher’s activities.  We need to better understand the person-level components driving modern research. More complex ideas about impact are shaping evaluation, alongside traditional peer review and bibliometrics, and the added volume of research information means that new kinds of analysis are possible. In addition, researchers’ careers have never been more mobile, spanning continents and disciplines in novel and unpredictable ways.

In this context, a CRIS (current research information system) is a vital tool for a modern research organisation. It places research information in a rich context, pulling together data from external resources and augmenting information from within the organisation, providing an overview of researchers’ body of work, and helping the organisation to understand and analyse their research performance.

ORCID has an ongoing partnership with the CRIS community. Our strong strategic partnership with EuroCRIS has helped shape our work to address the needs of the CRIS community. Under the THOR project banner, we have been working with the CERIF API to devise a way to help updates flow into CRISs from the ORCID registry.

In parallel, popular CRIS vendors have been working to integrate ORCID iDs into their products.

For example, from its February 2016 release, Pure users can link their Pure profiles with their ORCID iD. Pure will then automatically populate and update the user’s ORCID record with publication data from Pure. The export from Pure includes other identifiers (such as the researcher’s Scopus Author ID or Researcher ID) and the organisational affiliation. This export is under the control of the user, and is not enabled by default. You can see more on the Pure/ORCID integration in this video, created for our February 2016 Outreach meeting.

Converis enables researchers to synchronise their outputs in Converis with their ORCID record. The full synchronisation functionality takes advantage of the ORCID Premium member API. Researchers can also search for their publication using their ORCID iDs. Once again, in order to enable the connection, each user should sign in to their ORCID account and grant permission for Converis to read and write the data in their ORCID record. The process, and more, is set out in this video.

When a researcher logs into their Symplectic profile, they have an option to connect their ORCID iD. They can log in to their ORCID record and connect it to Symplectic. Once the connection is made, Symplectic will periodically check the researcher’s ORCID record for new persistent identifiers, such as DOIs, and use those to query other sources of scholarly information, such as Scopus, Web of Science, or Crossref, helping to eliminate duplicates reduce the burden on researchers and ensure that there is complete data available to the institution. This video from our San Francisco outreach meeting shows how it works.

So how do we support the work of CRISs?

When an ORCID record is updated (e.g., with information from a funder such as an award or review activity) or via the Crossref or DataCite auto-update, ORCID can push a notification to a member’s local CRIS. The CRIS can then pick up the DOI or reference information and add it to the researcher’s profile. Using the DOI, the CRIS can go to the canonical source (such as the publisher site or Crossref metadata search) for the full record for that publication. At this point, the institution can also verify the Open Access status, which is valuable for checking compliance with funder policies.

In addition, ORCID links data from many sources and relays updates to institutional research management systems - something that is becoming increasingly important. For example, PT-CRIS leverages this functionality to support synchronisation across national and local systems in Portugal. ORCID also helps connect information from other sources, as in Italy, where the IRIDE project is using ORCID iDs to enable researchers to link local information to their Scopus citation counts.

In a world of varied policies and diverse careers, being able to locate yourself in the wide digital world of scholarly communications is vital.  Being able to draw together the greatest possible range of research information helps everyone – researchers, employers, funders, publishers – who relies on accurate data to do their job, whether they are creators of this information, or consumers of it.