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Getting to Know You, Part 1: ORCID’s 2017 Community Survey

Alice Meadows's picture

In 2015, we carried out our first community survey, to learn more about you, our members and users, including why and how you were interacting with ORCID.  Two years on, our 2017 community survey covered much of the same ground and added some new questions. And we also carried out our first consortia survey this year, to find out more about the needs and expectations of our consortium lead organizations. Today’s post focuses on what we learned from our community survey.


The community survey ran from May 31 - July 14, 2017; 2,517 people responded, most via a link on the ORCID Registry home page. We received 1,776 completed surveys (70.5% of the total). Respondents were evenly distributed across the early, mid, and senior career stage with a similar disciplinary distribution to those of the 2015 survey. Compared to 2015, we received more responses from Central/South America, the Middle East, and in particular, Asia; and fewer from Canada/USA. This was due in part to promoting the survey more actively in Asia, particularly via social media in China. In addition, ORCID is now more established in Latin America and the Middle East than two years ago.

What did we learn?

  • Discovery: Organizational membership, system integrations, and advocacy are the main drivers of ORCID awareness and adoption across all career levels, regions, and disciplines
  • Awareness: Compared with 2015, there is increased awareness of key messages related to ORCID and ORCID iDs, especially among respondents who don’t have an iD (up to 50% higher in some cases)
  • Reasons for registering: Over half (54.6%) of respondents did so because their publisher (544), funder (227), or institution (233) required an iD. Other key reasons were to link all their publications under a common identifier, and to make it easier for readers to find their work (ranked 3.5/4 and 3.46/4 respectively)
  • ORCID usage: More respondents are adding data to their ORCID record across all categories than in 2015, with education (16.9% increase) and works (10.6%) showing most growth. Only 10.3% of respondents in 2017 indicated that they do not use their ORCID iD, compared with 25.6% in 2015. Use of ORCID in publications workflows remains the most common use case
  • Updating ORCID records: 40% of respondents use Crossref and/or DataCite auto-update, and 66% of respondents have manually populated at least some items on their ORCID records
  • ORCID mandates: 85.9% of respondents now agree or strongly agree that requiring the use of ORCID iDs is beneficial to the global research community, compared with 72.2% of 2015 respondents
  • ORCID help: The ORCID website is the top source of help for nearly half of all respondents (47.3%), followed by the support team (30.5%).
  • Brand attributes: In 2017, 83.1% of respondents “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that ORCID is essential, compared with 48.8% in 2015. The top five attributes associated with ORCID  are ‘open’, ‘global’, ‘efficient’, ‘easy to work with’, and ‘essential’ - similar to 2015, but with a notable increase for ‘efficient’ and ‘essential’
  • Net Promoter Score: 35.3 (55.6% of all respondents were Promoters, 24.1% were Passive, and 20.3% Detractors, n= 1,563)

What next?

We are delighted that this survey shows continued - and increasing - goodwill toward ORCID.  At the same time, there are some clear indications for improvement.

Awareness. Although community awareness of ORCID and key messages about the organization have increased since the 2015 survey was conducted, there is work to do in specific disciplines and regions.  We are adjusting our activities to improve our engagement with these communities.

Messaging. Some respondents raised concerns in the free text responses about our purpose and functionality, often as a result of misunderstandings. We continue to work on clear and consistent messaging, including  improved education and outreach resources for users.

User experience. Free text feedback from some respondents indicated that we need to make it easier for users to add information to their ORCID record.  We have been working to streamline the user experience through user interface and integration certification efforts.  In 2018, our development plan includes work to improve manual and automated record update processes.

The full report and anonymized dataset are available in the ORCID repository.