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Collect & Connect: Turning ORCID’s Vision into Reality

Alice Meadows's picture

Our updated vision statement looks forward to the day when everyone involved in research, scholarship, and innovation can be uniquely identified and connected to their contributions and affiliations, across disciplines, borders, and time. It’s ambitious, to be sure, but we’ve already made some major steps toward achieving it and, with the continued help and support of the ORCID community, together we can succeed. Our new program - Collect & Connect - is a fundamental component in ensuring that success.

Our ultimate goal is for individuals to register for an ORCID iD and, simply by using it as you work and make contributions, enabling your information to be automatically connected to all the other research and scholarship systems you use. Our mantra is “enter once, reuse often” - whether that be the different versions of your name, past and present affiliations and awards, or any type of professional contribution - from publications to patents, peer review, presentations, or performances. In the past year, we’ve made significant progress in terms of growing our membership (now close to 500 organizations) and, therefore, the number of systems that have integrated ORCID. In turn, this has increased the diversity of affiliations and contributions that can be connected to an ORCID iD. And we’ve also seen the launch of two workflows that enable automatic updates when journal article and datasets are published. Simply by using an ORCID iD when submitting a manuscript or dataset, individuals can now opt to have Crossref/DataCite update their record automatically with their publication’s DOI.

All told, our members are using ORCID in around 250 systems, with many more in the works. However, that’s still only a fraction of the systems that researchers encounter in their day-to-day lives. What’s more, the full power of ORCID to enable tools to help people find information and to simplify reporting and analysis - for individuals, organizations, and the scholarly community overall - is only being realized in a handful of those systems. Most systems are only collecting ORCID iDs and some are not even doing that in a validated way using the ORCID OAuth process. Judging from the number of questions we get from members about how to promote and implement ORCID, there’s a real commitment to making ORCID work, but, in many cases, a lack of knowledge about how to do so.

Collect & Connect aims to support this commitment by providing a clear structure and set of practices for integrating ORCID identifiers into systems, taking a sector-by-sector interconnected approach. The program strives to:

  • Clarify implementation goals and expectations across sectors: ensuring that all organizations understand their role, responsibilities, and benefits in incorporating ORCID identifiers in researcher workflows and systems
  • Standardize and improve the user experience: through consistent collection protocols, iD display, and data exchange options.
  • Improve understanding of trust in connections made between ORCID and other identifiers: building ORCID into systems enables organizations to make trusted assertions about connections between people, places, and contributions that everyone can benefit from
  • Increase the efficiency and quality of integrations: developing best practice guidelines from shared implementation experiences
  • Help achieve the ORCID vision through a community approach: understanding how use of identifiers in each sector can support trusted data exchange, improve data quality, and reduce paperwork and repetitive data entry across sectors can help each organization to prioritize its approach to identifiers and effectively engage with researchers - and other organizations. We hope the Collect & Connect program will help build this community further and more deeply engage members with our mission and goals

So what exactly is Collect & Connect? The program defines best practices around four key elements of ORCID integration which, if implemented across all sectors, will result in streamlined workflows and a more consistent user experience.

We are asking each sector - funders, publishers, and research institutions - to take responsibility for validating one type of connection between their organization and their researchers. For funders, that means validating the connection between an individual and the award(s) granted by the funding organization. Publishers can make a validated connection between an individual and her/his publications or other works; and research institutions can assert the individual’s affiliation. Associations - and some other organizations - can make connections between more than one type of activity or affiliation. Collectively, these assertions will build trust in digital communications.

The four elements of an ORCID integration that we are encouraging our members to implement are:

  • Collecting validated ORCID iDs (no manual entry) for individuals to ensure they’re correctly associated with their affiliations and contributions
  • Displaying iDs to signal to individual that an information system is plumbed to support their use of ORCID
  • Connecting information about affiliations, works, and awards to researchers’ ORCID records to enable them to easily provide validated information to systems and profiles they use
  • Synchronizing between systems to improve reporting accuracy and speed, and support better analysis and evaluation

Future blog posts will address the goals and expectations for each sector, looking in more detail at how these four elements should be implemented and highlighting some existing examples of best practice.

In the meantime, please visit our Collect & Connect web page and let us know what you think. We have already started contacting our members to introduce the program, discuss how they’re currently using ORCID, and help promote good integrations and effective practices that support broad community benefits.

Thanks for your support - we look forward to working with you!