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ORCID: an end to author ambiguity?

19 Oct, 12 | by BMJ

Publishers face authorship issues on a daily basis. Who should be listed as an author? How can an author role be appropriately acknowledged? How can we discern author responsibility? Linked to this is conflict-of-interest reporting: who needs to report what, and in what context?

A registry that will grant scientists a unique identifying number, helping readers of the literature to distinguish between authors with similar names, launched this week. ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID, seeks to remedy the systemic name ambiguity problems seen in scholarly research by assigning unique identifiers linkable to an individual’s research output.“ORCID addresses a problem shared by individuals and organizations across the research community: reliably connecting research with researchers,” explains Laure Haak, Executive Director of ORCID. “But ORCID is more than a Registry, it is a community effort to embed these identifiers in research workflows.” We are happy to be part of this movement and can announce that entry fields for ORCID identifiers are now available within our manuscript submission system.

Through integration in these manuscript and grant submission workflows as well as researcher profiles, ORCID promises to help scholars and institutions manage academic information and provide both with more control over their own record of scholarship. This is why Currently, Boston University, New York University Langone Medical Center, Cornell University, and the California Institute of Technology, and the research information system vendors Avedas, Symplectic, and Thomson Reuters are actively working on integration with the ORCID registry. Several research information system providers are also planning to integrate ORCID identifiers, including figshare, KNODE, Faculty of 1000 and  ImpactStory. Through its affiliate ORCID EU, ORCID is also working with DataCite to link ORCID identifiers with research datasets.

ORCID currently provides two basic services:  (1) a registry to obtain a unique identifier and manage a record of activities, and (2) APIs that support system-to-system communication and authentication.  ORCID makes its code available under an open source license, and will post an annual public data file under a CCO waiver for free download. Researchers can now register for an ORCID identifier, create ORCID records, and manage privacy settings at


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