Next Steps for ORCID and Organization Identifiers

Veronique Kiermer's picture

Organization identifiers are a key component of the ORCID vision – they allow researchers to connect their activities accurately to the organizations where these activities occur. These connections in turn make ORCID data and services richer, more trustable and more useful for researchers, ORCID members and users in the academic, funding, and publishing sectors.

ORCID has been using organization identifiers since 2013 but, realizing the limitations of solutions available then, we were among those calling for an open organization identifier initiative. In 2015, an Organization ID Working Group, led by a steering group made up of the executive directors of Crossref, DataCite, and ORCID was formed. This group developed a set of draft principles for Registry governance and product requirements, which were released for public comments and followed by a stakeholder meeting in January 2018.  At least in part due to these collaborative efforts, the landscape of organization identifiers has changed substantially for the better in the last couple of years.

That said, more work is needed to meet all the principles agreed by the Working Group. Crossref and DataCite, together with other stakeholders, are now working on a proposal to launch and manage an open independent organization identifier registry. We are pleased that this effort is going forward, and while we continue to actively support this work, we have decided to not directly participate for two reasons.  First, we consider that Crossref and DataCite have the initiative well in-hand. Second, over the next two years, we simply need to focus our limited resources on scaling our services and reaching financial sustainability.

For ORCID, the use case of an open organization identifier registry is rooted in our commitment to use solutions that support our principles of openness and transparency and that meet the needs of our community -- what we are calling FAIR PID practices:

  • Openness: including community-led advisory or governance structure
  • Long-term persistence guarantees: addressing long term availability of data and tools and APIs including resolution of the identifier
  • Sustainable business model: in which existing stakeholders can efficiently participate
  • Organizational agency: including choices for organizations to manage their identifier record

ORCID will continue to engage with and support organization identifier providers who strive to meet these open principles.

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