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Using ORCID to Re-imagine Research Attribution

Richard Wynne's picture

In comments made during her 2018 Council of Science Editors plenary address Alison Mudditt, the then recently appointed CEO of PLOS, observed that “research is not article shaped.” In other words, research outputs now encompass far more than can be effectively encapsulated in the seventeenth-century construct of a research paper.

With almost $2 trillion dollars invested globally in research each year, let’s just say that research funders and academic institutions are increasingly curious about outputs such as data, software, algorithms, protocols, mentoring, public impact, etc.

At the other end of the research ecosystem, researchers (especially early career researchers) are frustrated that their many contributions to research output are overlooked by traditional measures of impact. As noted by Stephen Curry of Imperial College London, “Researchers deserve to be judged on the basis of what they have done, not simply where they have published — and to be given credit for the many contributions they make above and beyond the publication of research papers.”

In light of these needs, we founded Rescognito with the idea that research credit and recognition should be:

  • Open. Free for individual researchers
  • Transparent. Direct recognition, not via opaque measures of impact
  • Democratic. Anyone with an ORCID iD can participate
  • Granular. A broad range of research outputs recognizable
  • Attributable. Tied to an authenticated ORCID iD or institution
  • Standards-based. ORCID, DOI, ROR, and CRediT

For these reasons, ORCID was a natural partner for building a new platform designed to integrate with the existing ecosystem. The objective of Rescognito is not to “disrupt” or to “dis-intermediate”, but to work with existing scholarly societies and other participants, keeping them at the heart of research evaluation and reputation management. Rescognito does not store content, it is not a social network nor workflow system; it is just a thin layer exclusively focused on recognition of a wide variety of research contributions. 

Using our platform, recognition is attributed using a counter called a “COG” (short for ReCOGnition) and the ORCID iD of the person granting the recognition. By themselves COG totals are a relatively superficial metric; but because they are open, transparent and attributable, we anticipate that layers of analytics, visualization and possibly AI will provide valuable insights into research trends and people.

We use the CRediT taxonomy, supplemented with a continuously-evolving list of home-grown recognition reasons (feedback welcome!) useful for recognizing non-article-based contributions and non-science works in the humanities and arts:












Thanks to ORCID our system can reliably identify research professionals (for example, the aforementioned Stephen Curry, along with his works: https://rescognito.com/0000-0002-0552-8870):







ORCID integration ensures that the recognizing person is also transparently and reliably identified (for example, https://rescognito.com/0000-0002-7563-0125):





Rescognito also allows self-recognition as a way to claim/assign CRediT for a previously published work (for example, https://rescognito.com/0000-0002-0673-1360):  

Our upcoming launch in September of 2019 will include Institutional Recognition, meaning that organizations will be able to recognize research behaviors and outputs that they want to encourage and reward. Also in upcoming in September is article-based-recognition that will allow multiple contributors (provided they have an ORCID iD in the metadata) to be recognized for multiple CRediT contributions in one action.







If you would like more information, please contact us.

In summary, will recognition make any difference?  I can’t say it better than Alex Holcombe in his recent Nature article:

“Will making less-acknowledged roles more visible really change things? It will. Research institutes recruiting for positions such as programmers, statisticians and project managers will have better information for hiring. Applicants for grants will find it easier to show funders that they have the right skills. The allocation of scientific resources will shift to more effective combinations of researchers.”