ORCID Membership, Sustainability, and Accessibility

Linda O'Brien's picture

Ensuring that everyone in the research community – individuals and organizations – can access and benefit from ORCID is critical to our sustainability. That’s why we are committed to ORCID iDs always being free to researchers; to allowing free access to our public API; and to making our public data file openly available. It’s also why our bylaws stipulate our member fees – our primary source of operating funds – may increase by no more than 3% annually. We value – and rely on – our member’ support and want to ensure that the cost of membership is affordable.

We are now supported by over 700 members globally, including 16 consortia that collectively represent over 400 organizations. Our members span all sectors of the scholarly communications world – associations, funders, publishers, research institutions, vendors and other third-party services, and more – in over 40 countries across six continents.

As our user base and membership have grown, our operating costs have also increased – to handle more onboarding, integrations, user queries, new features and updates to data models, APIs and user interfaces. We have not increased our fees at all since ORCID launched five years ago. This year, at the direction of our Board, I was tasked with chairing a task force to review our current fees and make recommendations for 2018. I would like to thank the other members of the group for their valuable contributions:

The task force began their deliberations by agreeing on some core planning principles to inform our recommendations, specifically that:

  1. ORCID’s membership and fees model should maximize equitable international participation in, and use of, ORCID, whilst ensuring prudent financial sustainability of the ORCID organization.
  2. Prudent financial sustainability will require ORCID to maintain a buffer of at least three months of operating expenses and in addition, generate a surplus for investment in ongoing ORCID development.
  3. The current annual cap of a maximum 3% fee increase, as detailed in existing agreements, should be maintained where the fee type/band remains the same.
  4. The membership and fee model should encourage the establishment of active consortia and the consortia fee bands should incentivize consortia to grow in size whilst ensuring prudent financial sustainability by setting a consortia member minimum level.

Based on these principles the recommendations, which were presented at the May 2017 Board meeting and passed unanimously, were:

  1. To increase fees for individual organizations by 3% – an increase of $120 for most members
  2. To cease offering the Basic consortium option
  3. To adjust our Premium Consortia banding structure to introduce a minimum per-member fee (current consortia will be grandfathered into the existing fee structure
New bands Previous bands
5-9: $6,000/member 5-9: $6,000/member
10-19: $5,000/member 10-19: $5,000/member
20-34: $4,000/member 20-29: $4,000/member
35-60: $3,500/member 30-99: $135,000/flat fee
61+: $3,000/member 100-250: $200,000/flat fee

I and my fellow Board members believe that these changes are a fair way to both maintain an affordable fee structure for ORCID members, and to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the ORCID Registry and services. The new fees will come into effect for new members and renewals starting from January 1, 2018. Full details of member fees are available here; please contact ORCID if you have any questions or concerns about these changes.