All About the New Zealand ORCID Hub

Jill Mellanby's picture

Please can you briefly describe the New Zealand ORCID Hub?

The New Zealand ORCID Hub allows all Consortium members to productively engage with ORCID regardless of technical resources. As consortium lead, Royal Society Te Apārangi is responsible for developing and maintaining the Hub.  The Hub is a software application with a simple user interface that allows member organisations to request permission from researchers to read from and write to their ORCID records. Once the researcher grants this permission, the organisation can enter authenticated information into their researcher's ORCID record. The Hub is used by 26 of our 51 members, and has been the conduit by which items have been shared with the ORCID records of over 2,800 researchers. More about the Hub is on our consortium web page.  

What prompted you to make a video about the Hub

We hope that having the video showing the Hub’s simple interface will prompt more members to use it and engage some members who haven’t yet started their ORCID journey.  Our national consortium funder, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE), were keen on us using the video as a resource to complement our quarterly consortium newsletter. We wanted to reach a variety of audiences including existing consortium members who have not yet engaged with ORCID or the Hub, existing Hub users who may not be aware of all its features, and potential new consortium members who would benefit from seeing how to use the Hub to write to ORCID records.

What features of the Hub were you keen to showcase?

The ability to upload a variety of batch files was a key driver in the Hub’s design. Most people are comfortable creating information to upload using Excel spreadsheets, which they can simply convert to a csv for the Hub, using Excel’s ‘save as’ function. More technically confident people can upload information in either json or yaml formats if they want to write more complex information to ORCID records, such as the contributors for multi-authored papers or funds awarded to groups of people.

We wanted the video to show how easy the Hub is to use, so Jill used screen capture software to record herself running a dummy affiliation file through our test hub, which interacts with ORCID’s sandbox. This shows the whole process:  choosing the section of the ORCID record you want to write to using the Hub’s ‘task menu’ (upload affiliations, funding, works, keywords, etc.); uploading a simple csv file, generated using Excel, containing the information to be written to the ORCID record(s); the researcher receiving an email from the Hub explaining that their organisation wants to write an affiliation to their ORCID record; the researcher being taken to ORCID to grant permission; and the information being immediately written to their ORCID record, with the user’s organisation -- in the preferred name format -- shown as the source of the information.

We also wanted to incorporate some interviews with existing Hub users to capture what is important to them, so we sent out a request for volunteers to participate. We were delighted when two members volunteered – one from a large university and the other from a small polytechnic. Both gave a great overview of how using the Hub saves their organisations’ internal resources because they don’t have to develop their own ORCID integrations.

What reactions have you had to the video, so far?

We have had some great feedback, including from one existing user who discovered that the Hub also allowed her to set up webhooks; we are delighted that her organisation is now trialling this feature.

Are there any features of the Hub that you weren’t able to capture in the video?

We wanted to keep the video fairly short, which meant we could not include all the Hub’s features. Apart from the web-forms for viewing, and editing, records, tools for managing ‘group ids’ for peer review, the Hub’s user reports, and its API, one key thing we did not show was the ease of onboarding an organisation. An authenticated technical contact simply clicks a button from within the Hub to be taken to ORCID’s API registration page with the necessary details pre-filled. We provide a simple interface for our members to self-manage their API credentials, as well as confirming that they are valid before accepting them.

We recommend that any organisation intending to use the Hub also implements a communications campaign so that researchers and contributors are ready when the Hub email arrives in their mailboxes, and less likely to delete it as potential spam. We work with our member organisations on communications, if required, and have some template messages that they can use to explain ORCID and the Hub to their research community.

How does the Hub -- and this video -- augment the goals of the NZ ORCID consortium? 

The New Zealand Government is covering the cost of ORCID membership for funders, and higher education and research organisations that are supported with public funds. By providing both an opportunity for ORCID membership without direct fiscal obligation, and a simple user interface in the form of the Hub to lower barriers to participation, we are hoping the New Zealand ORCID Consortium can span the whole of New Zealand’s public research sector. The video is intended as a tool to encourage the goals set out in our Advisory Committee’s vision:

  • that our researchers are recognised for their contributions to our research, science and innovation system
  • that our institutions populate and use data from ORCID records to improve data quality and reuse, and reduce the reporting burden
  • that using ORCID will help to improve the performance of our research system for the benefit of everyone here, and across the world

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