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Technology + Engagement = Infrastructure Sustainability

Matthew Buys's picture

As a community organization, the financial support of our members is critical for our sustainability. In addition, to deliver on our mission, we also need to ensure that ORCID iDs are fully embedded in the global research ecosystem: that iDs are widely adopted by researchers and they can use their iD in all of their research workflows. This requires organizations -- non-members and, in particular, members -- to implement ORCID technology according to best practices. It also requires all organizations to encourage the use of ORCID in their own communities through engagement and outreach.

In Spreading the ORCID Word: Helping You Help Us, we looked at how we are supporting your engagement and outreach efforts. Today, we are focusing on ORCID technology, a critical element if we are to  achieve our shared vision, of a world where all who participate in research, scholarship, and innovation are uniquely identified and connected with their contributions and affiliations across disciplines, borders, and time.   

We recognize that, even for large organizations, having access to the technology resources needed to integrate ORCID can be challenging. For smaller organizations it’s even more difficult.  This is a non-trivial issue, and one that we embrace on a daily basis, in every team, in every region. How, then, can we make progress? We are taking a three-pronged approach to supporting the ORCID community as you work to integrate iDs in your systems and workflows.

  1. Regional Approach. We are committed to supporting our community where you are. To this end, early on we created three regional teams to serve and build communities in the Americas; Europe, Middle East, and Africa; and Asia-Pacific. These teams provide in situ technology and community support, and are also responsible for regional engagement: establishing and supporting regional partnerships, member integrations, and user adoption.
  2. Consortia Approach. To scale globally, while also respecting local research practice and policies, we work with our now 18 ORCID consortia to foster communities, common purpose, and collaborative action on digital transformation policies. Each consortium is responsible for supporting their own community, typically through one or more full- or part-time community managers, who we train and work closely with, to ensure best practices are applied in the consortia. In turn they serve as critical communication channels, enabling us to better understand -- and meet -- their community’s needs.
  3. Partner Approach. To make it easier for the community to adopt and implement ORCID, we are working increasingly closely with technology companies to embed ORCID in their products and services, which are used by many of our members. Our Collect and Connect program clearly indicates which of these products and services meet our best practices, which in turn reduces implementation barriers for our members. It also enables us to highlight exemplar partner integrations to demonstrate the impact of adoption.   

Members as Partners in the ORCID Mission

To achieve our mission, we need to partner with our members on the responsible -- and responsive - use of ORCID APIs and communication resources.  Integration goals for each community sector - publishers, employers, and funders -- are articulated in the ORCID Collect & Connect program, providing our regional teams and our members a solid foundation to build upon. But to be successful, we also need to take the time to understand our members’ individual goals, and to work with them on an implementation action plan they can follow to achieve their goals for integrating ORCID.

This includes:

  • Understanding. The member understands the technology requirements for effective use of ORCID, and has developed an implementation action plan
  • Implementation. The member has implemented ORCID in one or more research workflows that meet the Collect & Connect program guidelines
  • Benefit. The member is able to measure benefit of ORCID implementation

Which Community Actions are Mission Critical?

Researchers, research systems, and especially members, each have a role to play in helping ORCID -- and our community -- to be successful,:

  • Researchers need to register for, use, and share your iD when prompted or required to do so
  • Research systems should collect and display authenticated IDs (and other publicly available information from ORCID records)
  • Members must support and implement ORCID following Collect and Connect best practices, including updating ORCID records with iD-ID connections, and clearly identifying the source metadata: item source, assertion source, record source. Each sector has a specific role to play, with information they can specifically provide to support the open sharing of trusted research information: affiliation information (typically shared by employers), authored contributions (publishers), and award/grant information (funders).

Measuring Progress toward our Mission

How can we track progress toward achieving our mission?  As of today, we have over five million users, and more than 900 members with 580 integrations. To maximize the value of these integrations for members, users, and the wider community, we need to make sure that researchers can use their iD to make connections with their affiliations and contributions, and that members are enabling the collection of iDs and the creation and sharing of trusted connections.  These are some of the questions we ask to measure our progress:

  • Are our members integrating? Total number of members and members with at least one Collect and Connect badge
  • Are our members collecting iDs the right way? Number of member systems collecting authenticated iDs; total and by sector and region
  • Are our members creating and sharing connections? Number of members adding iD-ID connections to ORCID records, and total count of connections 
  • Are researchers using these integrations? As well as the overall statistics we share on our website weekly and in our annual report, we also monitor activity by integration (shared with individual members in regular reports) and by type of record item (affiliations, works, peer review, resources)


In addition to these quantitative measures, we also survey our members and users; and we listen, listen, listen to what you have to say - in webinars, regional meetings, other events, and in a variety of information channels.   Let us know how we are doing!