What does ORCID actually ever do?

Academic librarians have weird manias, and one of them is spying on researchers on Twitter. Our colleague Catherine Brendow recently came across someone complaining about “having to create a stupid ORCID just to submit a paper”. Here is why it is not just another useless administrative task, how you can have a “smart ORCID”, and why you might want to join her online presentation on December 9.

Being visible in the growing academic world

There have never been so many humans on this small planet; even if researchers are only a tiny minority, there have never been so many humans with a PhD either! Each of them is, of course, unique, but not always that easy to identify unambiguously, especially when their name is very common.

ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a non-profit independent organisation providing researchers with a permanent identifier that will follow them through all changes in their lives (affiliation, name) and allow other researchers and stakeholders to know who they are and how they are contributing to research.

Even better, ORCID allows researchers to keep control of their personal data and their visibility. There are unfortunately too many organizations in the academia that are for-profit and do not show much respect for the researchers’ privacy, it is quite pleasant to find a counterexample.

A well-functioning ecosystem of linked (meta)data

ORCID is supported by many organizations, universities, publishers, databases and repositories, and has become the centre of a wide ecosystem of linked data for research.

The reason why researchers are expected to have created an ORCID “just to submit a paper” is that it allows them to update their records easily and automatically, removing the need to resubmit the same information with each paper or grant proposal.

Leaving this record blank would indeed make it a “stupid ORCID”, as they would miss the opportunity to make themselves better known by people interested in their work, just clicking on the icon beside their name in an interesting article.


Interested in learning more about ORCID and how it works? Register for Catherine’s 30-minute online workshop (Thursday, December 9th, 1 p.m. CET)! If you cannot make it, some additional information is available in this older blog post by our colleague Isabelle Vuillemin-Raval.

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