The One and Only – ORCID for researchers

In this post, Vicky Wallace from Library Services’ Research Skills Team introduces ORCID, a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher.

In today’s research climate, the scope for information about you and your work to be displayed and connected is huge.  Historically, publishers and libraries took ownership for distributing and curating works, but roles are blurring in today’s world, where indexing and curation of online content is largely done algorithmically.  The picture is further complicated by:

  • the range of research output types (“online-only” articles, blog posts, slide decks and datasets) and other research activity;
  • difficulties in author disambiguation, exacerbated where people have common names, perhaps change names after marriage, move institutions, or are affiliated with more than one institution.

Vicky would like to make it clear that she is not a fan of Chesney (despite knowing all the words).

How can we ensure that researchers’ profiles are correct, full and up to date? 

It falls to the individual researcher to take ownership for their online identity, and be their own “mini librarian” – curating their work and identities.  ORCID is there to help you with this process.

What is ORCID?

ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID.  It is a unique and persistent person identifier, connecting you with your works and affiliations, improving recognition and discoverability for you and your research outputs.  ORCID is free to register and use, and is run on a not-for-profit basis.  ORCID saves you time as many systems you already use are connected with ORCID, so you can “enter once, re-use often”.  Because of the benefits, ORCID is strongly recommended for the next Research Excellence Framework, a government research evaluation exercise next due in 2021 and of interest to those of you considering an academic career.

ORCID aids reliable connections between researchers, institutions, funders and publishers, by using APIs (Application Program Interfaces).  The researcher registers for, and manages, their own ORCID record, retaining authority over the API activity and controlling their record’s visibility.

Many organisations have included ORCID in their workflows.  These include not only publishers and funders, but also societies, data sharing agents, and discovery services such as Clarivate (Web of Science), Scopus, CrossRef, Kudos and  By having an up-to-date ORCID profile, you can help these agents to gain a full view of your research career to date.

Who uses ORCID?

ORCID has over 4.6 million members, with over 851 member institutions from 44 countries.  Here are some interesting ORCID profiles from University of Birmingham researchers:

So, how do I get started?

University of Birmingham researchers are recommended to set up their ORCID profile via Pure.  Doctoral researchers have a Pure account – login here.  From your Pure profile page, click on “create/link to an ORCID”, and you can start populating your ORCID by Adding Works as appropriate.  Make sure you set your profile as public so that others can see it.  For more information, see Library Services’ webpage on ORCID.

Do you have an ORCID?  What is your experience of using ORCID?  How do you think it will help you as part of your research career?

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