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ORCID and Other Researcher Identifiers  

Last Updated: May 27, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Who Assigns Researcher Identifiers?

Researcher Identifiers may be assigned and maintained by national governments, disciplinary repositories, third party agencies, or individual publishers. In this day and age, many researchers find they have multiple Researcher ID's in a variety of different systems, none of which were requested or initiated by the researcher her/himself!

Here are some of the most common ones:

Disciplinary repositories and pre-print servers, such as arXiv and PubMed

Commercial aggregators and database providers, such as Elsevier and Thomson Reuters

National Government agencies such as Brazil's National Council for Scientific and Technological Development and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

Libraries such as the British Libraries' Names Project and consortial library system, VIAF: The Virtual International Authority File

International not-for-profit organizations, such as ORCID

Recommended Resources About Researcher Identifiers

Fenner, Martin, 2011. "Author Identifier Overview". LIBREAS. Library Ideas, 18 ().

Michael J. Foley and David L. Kochalko, "Open Researcher and Contributor Identification (ORCID)" (2010). Proceedings of the
Charleston Library Conference.

Rotenberg, Ellen and Kushmerick, Ann. 2011."The Author Challenge: Identification of Self in the Scholarly Literature," Cataloging & Classification Quarterly; August 2011, Vol. 49 Issue 6, p503-520, 18p.


    What are Researcher Identifiers?

    Researcher Identifiers, also known as Digital Author Identifiers (DAI) or Scholarly Identifiers, are unique numeric codes that establish a unique identity for a given author or creator. Research Identifiers are becoming more important in today's scholarly and publishing systems because the number of authors and research outputs keeps expanding globally, challenging our ability to associate individuals with their works accurately and unambiguously.

    Researcher IDs help distinguish between similar or identical names, differences in spellings or transliterations of names across languages, and changes in names or affiliations over a researcher's career. If you have ever tried to locate all the works of a particular Tom Smith; or worried that works under your maiden name are not being retrieved by interested parties; or if you are concerned about the occurrence of variant transliterations and spellings of your name in various citation databases or other research information systems, you would find benefits from using a numeric Researcher ID!


    Why are Researcher Identifiers Helpful?

    1. As unique numeric identifers, Researcher IDs enable one to establish an unambiguous scholarly identity to which all contributions can be linked, and attribution for one's works is certain. By contrast, personal names may be similar; or can be represented in varying ways based on language transliteration or alternate spelling; or may change over a lifetime, creating misattribution or underattribution of publications and other works.
           Example: Imagine what would happen if you could successfully search for "all the other papers by the particular John Smith that wrote this paper".
    2. Having a single, non-proprietary Researcher ID is helpful to avoid filling in author and bibiliographic data repeatedly in different systems mtaintained by different stakeholders in the research ecosystem: the author's institutition, the funding agency providing research support, and the publisher handling the outputs from the research project.
           Example: When you log into a publisher's site to submit a new paper, the system automatically populates your name, affiliations, and previous works.
    3. Having a portable, international Researcher ID would ensure that one's scholarly identity travels from one place of empolyment to another and grows to represent additional experience and contributions.
           Example: When you graduate from Texas A&M with your doctorate, your publications list containing the dissertation and any other citations automatically go with you to your new institution.
    4. Some information science experts consider Researcher IDs as critical infrastructure to connect systems and processes across the research ecosystem, enabling researchers to take advantage of new Internet services to connect researchers; leverage new databases of opportunities; and realize efficiencies and savings for discovering new services, resources, or collaborators of interest.  In other words, Researcher Identifiers may reduce friction amongst online systems connecting the university, government, industrial, and publishing sectors.
           Example:  A promising new collaboration takes off because a researcher with similar interests finds you in an international expert database.

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    Ownership of this Guide

    Creative Commons License
    ORCID and Other Researcher Identifiers LibGuide at Texas A&M University is licensed by Gail Clement under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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