Monday, 30 November 2015

CSC - ORCID – unique identifiers to support researchers - Blog Post


ORCID – unique identifiers to support researchers
is continually offering researchers new opportunities and tools to both
locate information within their fields and improve the visibility of
their own research. Over the past ten years, a considerable variety of
services targeted at the scientific community have sprung up all over
the world. These services enable researchers to maintain a research
profile containing, for example, details of their research projects and

Some popular 'scientific social media' include Google Scholar, ResearchGate,, Impactstory and Mendeley.
These services offer a channel for networking and keeping in contact
with research colleagues all around the world. Some of them also allow
researchers to keep a list of references to research publications that
are of interest to them.  Most services are free for researchers.

Unique identifiers for researchers

The international researcher identifier system ORCID
(Open Researcher and Contributor ID) was launched in 2012 with the aim
of improving researchers' visibility. Researchers can use this service
to maintain a list of, for example, their publications, funding and
degrees. However, ORCID differs from other services in that it offers
researchers a unique identifier – a numerical sequence that seeks to
solve confusion resulting from, for example, researchers with the same
name or a person's name being written in different formats. To date,
almost 1.6 million researchers across the world have obtained an ORCID

international scientific publishers have begun using ORCID in their own
processes. Researchers can therefore link their ORCID identifier to an
article when submitting the manuscript to a journal, so it will
automatically transfer with the publication to, for example, citation
indexing services of scientific publications (Web of Science, Scopus,
etc.). One of the ORCID's goals is to facilitate the automatic transfer
of a researcher's information between a variety of systems, so that the
same data doesn't need to be entered in several different places.

ORCID facilitates data transfer

countries have already started using ORCID as a national-level
identifier for researchers. For example, Sweden's largest research
funder, Vetenskaprådet, requires all funding applicants to have an ORCID
identifier. Denmark's target is for 80 per cent of researchers to have
an ORCID identifier by 2016. The identifiers have already been widely
adopted in Portugal in connection with an national research assessment

In Finland, the Ministry of Education and Culture is
promoting researcher identification by offering interested organisations
centralised support for ORCID adoption through CSC. A CSC report
completed in early 2015 showed that ORCID also generates benefits at a
national level, as publication details and other information are
automatically transferred from, for example, international citation
databases to researchers' home universities, and from there to research
funders and administrative reports. The project also involves developing
nationwide services to facilitate data transfer between different
organizations and avoid duplicate data entry into several different

ORCID is not compulsory

There are also some
concerns surrounding ORCID. ORCID is a non-profit organisation
registered in the USA.  For organisations in EU countries, this poses
some problems, especially with regard to the surrender of personal
details. Researchers also have a variety of justifiable reasons for not
wanting to register with or use the service. However, no legal issues
will arise if researchers create an identifier for themselves. That's
why the report carried out in Finland recommends, as in many other
countries, that Finnish organisations do not create identifiers on
behalf of researchers and that ORCID use remain voluntary.

many researchers have created ORCID identifiers, the greatest benefit
will only be reaped when ORCID is introduced in additional services and
processes. However, many service providers are waiting for a 'critical
mass' of users. The benefits offered by ORCID will, therefore, increase
as its coverage among researchers improves.

Read the blog post in Finnish

Hanna-Mari Puuska
Hanna-Mari Puuska
The writer works as a project manager for CSC and has previously been a researcher at the University of Tampere.

CSC - ORCID – unique identifiers to support researchers - Blog Post

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