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As researchers and scholars, you face the ongoing challenge of distinguishing your research activities from those of others with similar names. You need to be able to easily and uniquely attach your identity to research objects such as datasets, equipment, articles, media stories, citations, experiments, patents, and notebooks. As you collaborate across disciplines, institutions, and borders, you must interact with an increasing number and diversity of research information systems. Entering data over and over again can be time-consuming, and often frustrating. You may be asking yourself:

  • How can I ensure credit and recognition for all of my work?
  • How can I maintain the control and privacy of my own scholarly profile?
  • How can I minimize time-consuming administrative and reporting requirements?
  • How can I avoid re-entering the same data every time I apply for a grant? When I move?
  • Who are other experts in this field? How can I locate collaborators?

Achieving an unambiguous professional identity requires persistent digital identifiers that distinguish you from every other researcher. While several author identifier initiatives exist, all are limited to a particular organization, discipline, or geographic region, or are closed commercial systems. To overcome these barriers, ORCID has been designed for the benefit of individual researchers and the wider scientific enterprise of which you are part.

What is ORCID?

ORCID provides a registry of unique identifiers for researchers and scholars that is open, non-proprietary, transparent, and mobile. ORCID invites all researchers to participate without entry fees or maintenance costs. ORCID recognizes that first and foremost, individuals own their record.  A central principle of the ORCID initiative is that researchers control the defined privacy settings of their own ORCID record data. Individual record holders can control what information is displayed publicly, what is shared with trusted partners, and who those trusted partners are.

A central feature of ORCID is its interoperability with multiple systems and institutions. ORCID does not compete with any other system, allowing you to link with other identifier systems and exchange data with research information systems, including those of funders and publishers.

How do I register?

You may register for an ORCID identifier at http://www.orcid.org. Registration is free and fast: you need only enter your name and email address and create a password.  You need not have an official affiliation and there is no set of requirements to qualify as a researcher.  Once you are registered you may create an ORCID record by addition information on your other identifiers and you can enter data on your publications by searching the CrossRef database of publications or synchronizing data with other systems such as ResearcherID or Scopus. You can also enter information about your affiliation, degrees, patents, and grants. Alternatively, your employer may register on your behalf, in which case you will get a notice to claim your record.

How does ORCID work?

Privacy. ORCID is an open registry. ORCID records hold non-sensitive information such as name, email, organization name, and research activities. ORCID understands the fundamental need for individuals to control how their data are shared, and provides tools for individuals to manage data privacy. Member organizations may serve as trusted parties, which provides access to non-public ORCID record data marked as limited access by the record holder.   Individuals may select multiple organizations as trusted parties, so that researchers with joint appointments or students who have moved to a new organization can share information across organizations.  In addition to managing trusted party selections, individuals can control privacy settings, with the ability to hide private date, share limited access data with selected parties, or share public data without restriction.

Activity Reporting. ORCID reduces the time-consuming process of maintaining up-to-date records. For example, individuals with ORCID records who use their ORCID during manuscript or grant submission can receive updates to their record when manuscripts are published or grants awarded.  Trusted party organizations can receive alerts from ORCID to update local systems to support networking and collaboration, or to populate institutional reporting systems to support national assessment programs.

Repository Deposition. With ORCID, publications linked to ORCIDs of grantees can be directed to repositories using system-to-system data exchange, greatly simplifying the deposition process. With this data exchange in place, the workload for individuals to maintain up-to-date research information is substantially reduced. 

Interoperability. The ORCID identifier is a key component of system-to-system interoperability.  Together with other organizations it is becoming possible to exchange research data between systems to support an international and interdisciplinary understanding of the research community. 

For more information see http://www.orcid.org.