I just registered for an ORCID ID—I’m 0000-0002-4202-7813 in case you were wondering, but I still answer to Liz. I know I’ve written about ORCID before, but that was before it was launched, and I think it’s such a neat idea I’ve decided to blog about it again now it is up and running and I’ve tried it out for myself.
ORCID gives researchers a unique ID which will not only be useful to them, but also to publishers, funders, and institutions. I’m also convinced that it will make some investigations into suspected research and publication misconduct easier, because it will make it simpler to identify an individual researcher’s publications and easily distinguish them from others with similar names.
In a single step, it makes databases such as PubMed vastly more useful (and the National Library of Medicine has recently recognised this fact by creating an ORCID ID field). Many of the big publishers have also recognised ORCID’s usefulness and, from now on, will be using it in submission systems and author databases. This means that, so long as authors supply the information, all their future publications will automatically be tagged to them. Existing publications have to be uploaded, but I was impressed by how easy it was to load mine onto the system—perhaps having a relatively unusual name and not having published much, made me a particularly easy case. But for those already bedevilled by namesakes (or near namesakes) working in similar fields, I’m sure it will be worth the small effort to load up your publications.
Another reason I like ORCID is that it is a great example of a not-for-profit collaboration that’s really making a difference. It’s so refreshing when smart people combine their talents and energies and produce something useful rather than something destructive or something that only the wealthy can afford (ORCID is free for individual researchers to register although it does charge fees for institutions that want to use it).
Happy New Year, whatever you are called, and may you enjoy your disambiguation.
Liz Wager PhD is a freelance medical writer, editor, and trainer. She was the chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) (2009-2012).