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ORCID, a persistent identifier for researchers

Date:27 August 2021
Author:Leon ter Schure
Orcid.org
Orcid.org

Earlier this year, the Dutch Research Council (NWO) launched its PID-strategy, recognizing that so-called persistent identifiers (PIDs) are “a prerequisite for Open Science and FAIR [Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable] data”. But what are PIDs, and why should researchers care about them?

What is a PID?

A PID is defined as a long-lasting reference to a digital object. It can be compared with a social security number that uniquely specifies a person, place or thing. Within scholarly information systems, PIDs help to refer to the right article, organization or author. By connecting PIDs with other PIDs you enhance the findability of research information - the ‘F’ in the acronym FAIR.

There are PID-schemes for different kinds of digital objects. An example is the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). DOIs are assigned to research outputs such as articles or datasets. While a URL may expire (‘link rot’) and content on webpages may change (‘content drift’), PIDs are managed and kept up-to-date over a long period of time. The DOI of a research article will, for instance, persistently link to a landing page that provides metadata about and access to the article.

ORCID

The Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID iD) is a PID designed especially for researchers. It consists of a 16-digit number that distinguishes you from other researchers. The ORCID iD-number links to a landing page called an ORCID Record that displays your professional information - the ‘metadata’ about you as a researcher.

ORCID solves the problem of name ambiguity in science. Many people share the same last name (think of Smith, De Vries or Li), names may change over time (after marriage) or can be written in various ways (with or without initials). An ORCID iD uniquely specifies the person to which the iD refers and connects them to their publications and research activities.

In contrast to other online researcher profiles, ORCID is an open, non-profit and community-driven initiative. Use of ORCID is not only free for researchers; as owners of their ID, researchers also retain control over their online identity, which is important now that we are moving from a journal-centric towards a researcher-centric model of scholarly communication.

Benefits of ORCID

Using an ORCID iD in your research workflows has several advantages:

  • One of the core principles of ORCID is that as a researcher, you are always in control. You register for an ORCID iD and determine what happens to the information in your ORCID Record.

  • ORCIDs creed is ‘Enter once, re-use often’. You can allow organizations with an ORCID-integration (including publishers, data repositories, funders, and research institutions) to read and update your ORCID Record. This saves time while filling out forms which you can spend on your research.

  • Because ORCID iDs are machine-readable, they are easily shared between scholarly information systems and automatically connected to other PIDs such as DOIs (of your research articles and datasets), RORs (research organisation identifier) and GrantIDs (funding). This helps fellow researchers and organisations to more easily find information about you and your research outputs.

  • Your ORCID iD stays with you throughout your career, even when you move from one university or research institute to another.

Once you have set up your ORCID Record, start using your iD in your research activities - when you submit a manuscript for publication or publish a dataset, apply for a grant, or are involved in peer review activities. This not only ensures that you receive recognition for your work, but you also contribute to creating a robust and open research infrastructure that sustains the transition to open science.

Connect your ORCID iD to Pure

Because the University of Groningen is a supporting member of ORCID, UG researchers have the possibility to either create an ORCID iD or connect their existing iD to the UG research database Pure. Your ORCID Record will now be automatically updated with information from Pure (research outputs, Pure Portal URL and other personal identifiers). You can also import publications from your ORCID Record to Pure, which is an easy way to keep your Pure profile up-to-date.  

Doing so is easy and only takes two minutes: 

  1. Log in to Pure

  2. Click on ‘Edit profile’ on your personal overview page. 

  3. Click on ‘Create or Connect your ORCID iD’. You will be directed to the ORCID site, where you can either register for an ORCID iD or authorize a connection between Pure and your existing iD.

  4. Don’t forget to press ‘save’ on the bottom of the Pure screen.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Useful links

Information about ORCID on the library-website

Webinar: Improve your visibility with ORCID

ORCID.org

About the author

Leon ter Schure

Leon ter Schure is Scholarly Information Specialist at the University of Groningen Library.

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