This post was published on Bytesforall today. Since many of us are also involved in research, the information may be useful.
Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:36 pm (PDT) . Posted by:
From *Research Information*
A researcher by any other name?
*23 October 2012*
*A new initiative promises to solve the problem of identifying researchers,
writes **Neil Jacobs** of JISC *
Last week a major international initiative launched its registry to provide
researchers with unique identifiers. ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor
Identifier) numbers should start to solve the problems of researchers with
the same name or researchers who change their names. It is not about
tagging all researchers and tracking their movements but about linking
public information to people, accurately and reliably. It should mean
significant time savings for researchers and those who support them.
An American survey in 2009 that found an average of 42 per cent of research
time was spent on administration. This is unlikely to have declined, and is
a poor use of researchers’ time. One source of frustration is the
seemingly-constant demands from publishers, funders and universities to
provide the same kinds of information – name, institutional affiliation,
publication record, current and past projects, and so on.
There have been several attempts to solve this problem, or parts of it.
Commercial companies, such as Elsevier and Thomson Reuters, offer their own
solutions and identifiers that researchers can acquire. In the UK, the
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) operates a staff identifier
scheme for everyone employed in universities, but often a researcher will
acquire a new HESA staff identifier when they move between universities
(even though this is not meant to happen), so it is harder for them to
bring their information with them when they move jobs. It would be
possible, of course, to ask all researchers to put all their information
into a single big database and keep it up-to-date but, apart from concerns
about control over that data, we are all aware of the track record of
similar large IT projects. So, what was to be done?
The first step was to get everyone together. We needed to build a consensus
to avoid precisely the fragmentation that leads to researchers (and others)
being asked for the same information multiple times. The recommended
approach also has the backing of the international scholarly-publishin g
industry, which is vital to the initiative’s success as publishers provide
core services for researchers.
Some have asked, why ORCID? One apparently alternative approach that was
considered by the UK Researcher Identifier group (a UK group convened by
JISC) was the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI). ISNI is
supported by the creative industries and library community. Its scope is
much broader than ORCID (Mickey Mouse will have an ISNI, but not an ORCID),
but we felt that the ORCID approach put the control over the data much more
clearly in the hands of the researchers themselves. However, we expect that
the point will become moot, as talks between the ISNI and ORCID boards
suggest that they will become partners, to the advantage of both.
There have been other concerns raised, for example about whether having
data held on US servers is acceptable, given the provisions of the US
Patriot Act. This should not be a problem. Most – if not all – of the
information will be public anyway, and researchers will have full control
over how much information is held, if any. Furthermore, the ORCID
initiative will comply with all the relevant provisions of “Safe Harbor”
under US law.
Of course, endorsing ORCID would just be the start of the process. There
will be work to be done by universities, funders, publishers and
researchers themselves. Universities might need to adjust their systems to
take full advantage of ORCIDs. Publishers and funders might want to
incorporate ORCIDs into their manuscript and grant proposal submission
systems respectively (many publishers have already done this). Libraries
might want to consider how to exploit ORCIDs to improve their services. In
order to justify these kinds of investment, there will need to be specific
evidence of the benefits, beyond those already considered.
This is a unique opportunity to solve an age-old problem that causes
universities and researchers endless and costly inconvenience. The solution
is in the hands of the research community and will stay there.
Neil Jacobs is JISC programme director for digital infrastructure
Registry to distinguish between researchers launches
*16 October 2012*
ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) has launched a Registry where
researchers can distinguish themselves by creating a unique personal
'By registering with ORCID, researchers now can easily and uniquely attach
their identity to their research products, from datasets, to equipment,
articles, media stories, citations, experiments, patents, and notebooks,'
explained Laure Haak, executive director of ORCID.
The project includes universities, publishers, funding bodies and
'Through integration in workflows such as manuscript and grant submission
as well as researcher profiles, ORCID promises to help scholars and
institutions manage academic information and, ultimately, to provide both
with more control over their own record of scholarship, ' said Amy Brand,
assistant provost for faculty appointments and information at Harvard
So far, Boston University, New York University Langone Medical Center,
Cornell University, and the California Institute of Technology, and the
research information system vendors Avedas, Symplectic, and Thomson Reuters
are actively working on integration with the ORCID registry.
Launch publisher partners include Nature Publishing Group, Elsevier,
Hindawi, and the American Physical Society (APS).
According to NPG, once researchers have an ORCID identifier, NPG is ready
to include them in its manuscript submission system and nature.com
Registrants will be able to link ORCID identifiers to their nature.com profile,
and authors will be able to link their ORCID identifiers to their
manuscript submissions. Further integration between nature.com, NPG's
submission systems and the ORCID registry is planned as ORCID rolls out
further functionality, according to the publisher.
ORCID does not aim to compete with existing systems for researcher
identification, but to provide a switchboard for crosslinking. For
example, Elsevier is providing a way for researchers to link their Scopus
Author IDs to ORCID and synchronise their publication information between
the two systems. Thomson Reuters’ ResearcherID will link to ORCID and allow
researchers to synchronise their publication information.
Several research information system providers are also planning to
integrate ORCID identifiers, including KNODE, Faculty of 1000, and
ImpactStory. Through its affiliate ORCID EU, ORCID is working with DataCite
to link ORCID identifiers with research datasets.