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Are You Kim, Lee, or Park? ORCID in Asia Pacific

Nobuko Miyairi's picture

When considering ORCID’s role in Asia-Pacific, it’s important to understand why the need for researchers to be able to differentiate themselves is particularly acute here. Throughout Asia, in particular, name disambiguation is a well-known challenge. Across Korea, China, and India there are a lot of researchers with similar or identical names. In Korea, for example, the surnames Kim, Lee, and Park account for about half the entire population. In China, the most common 100 surnames account for more than 80% of the population. Transliteration is another common problem in many Asian countries, often resulting in names that are different in their original script being spelled the same in the Roman alphabet. And although English is the language of the international research community, particularly in the sciences, many researchers publish in their own language too, and these publications are often not covered in international databases. This makes managing their research portfolio rather complicated, requiring referencing both international and local databases as well as doing repeat author searches for multiple spelling possibilities..

So institutions, publishers, funders, and researchers themselves need to realize that ORCID is really important for them. We’ve already had some success with non-English language publishers; for example, the Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors (KAMJE) has adopted ORCID for their journals, and also recently launched KoreaMed search & link wizard. These integrations ensure that Korean medical researchers can easily connect their already published works, as well as having forthcoming publications automatically added to their ORCID record via Crossref auto-update. The sheer volume of local publishers is difficult to reach, however, so this year I will meet with more journal publishers in the region to explain how their international peers are using ORCID, and the benefits of integrating ORCID into their publishing process.

One of the big challenges of my role is the diversity of the countries in the region, from Australia and New Zealand which are very Western countries, to Singapore, which has a huge science sector (though in land mass it’s actually smaller than Tokyo), to Indonesia, which has over 4,000 universities. So, as in the rest of the world, community engagement is a priority for ORCID in Asia Pacific.

During 2016, we held our first outreach meeting in Australia, to coincide with the launch of their national ORCID consortium, comprising 40 research institutions. Over 130 people attended the meeting in Brisbane, including representatives from consortium lead, the Australian Access Federation, and many consortium members. We also ran an ORCID roadshow in western Australia, to meet with members and potential members unable to attend the outreach meeting.  In April, five Taiwanese universities formed a consortium, and the New Zealand national ORCID consortium launched in October with 34 members. The Australian consortium has been very active, both inside their country and also internationally, sharing their approaches and policies as other nations consider adopting ORCID at scale.  In New Zealand, the national lead of the ORCID consortium is piloting a module that organizations with few or no IT resources can use to integrate ORCID. 

Other events included workshops in Singapore, Tokyo and Fukuoka, Japan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. I also received a lot of invitations to meetings and conferences to talk about ORCID; there is a real appetite to find out more about who we are, what we do, and how we are helping researchers. Thankfully ORCID has 15 volunteer ORCID ambassadors across the region who help to spread the word about the benefits of name disambiguation.

Usage of ORCID in Asia-Pacific continues to grow and now represents 26% of overall Registry use, with China (second highest globally) and India (fourth) especially significant. The ORCID website is available in Chinese and Japanese - and Chinese-language usage, at 11% of the total, is second highest after English. I’m delighted that I will soon be joined by our new Regional Director for China, Jason Hu, who will be starting in early April. Look out for more news about this soon!

Along with researcher use, institutional membership in the region is also steadily increasing. All eight publicly funded universities in Hong Kong are now members.  Japan has the most diverse membership, though small in number, including a funder, two national research institutions, two scholarly societies, two corporations, and two universities. We now have four members from Singapore, three of which joined early this year. While the ORCID community has started growing in these countries, it is also imperative to call for institutional support in other places where we see a huge uptake of individuals but only a small number of member organizations: China (more than 100,000 iDs and just three member organizations), India (more than 40,000 iDs, one member), and Korea (more than 30,000 iDs, one member). Organizations can help their researchers save time by supporting the use of ORCID. See how research organizations are integrating ORCID and building trust in digital information infrastructure. 

We look forward to continued collaborations with all members in Asia-Pacific during 2017. We will be participating in many conferences and meetings in the region throughout the year (CLSTL, ISMTE Asia-Pacific, OR2017, ARMS, to name a few), and also hosting a number of events in the region. We’ve already held our first workshop of the year in the region in Malaysia, with more planned throughout the year - check our events page for updates.