ORCID: Major Policy Announcements in Italy and the UK

The ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) uniquely distinguishes researchers and stays with them for life, regardless of their employment or location.  The ORCID Registry can store key data about researchers, such as their publications, projects, qualifications, and employment history. ORCID can benefit research institutions by improving data quality and lightening administrative load, as internal systems can be tied in with data in the ORCID registry.  This why it is now being taken very seriously by the international research community.

The Benefit to Research Organisations

It is an ongoing problem for universities to link staff with their scholarly activities, to consistently benchmark research strengths and weaknesses, and thereby identify areas for strategic investment.  The increasing administrative workload needed for compliance with funders’ and auditors’ requirements, combined with the need to effectively manage internal records, is a growing challenge for research departments.  ORCID offers a solution for this data-management headache, one that institutions are willing to pay for.  Although individual researchers can use ORCID free of charge, institutions pay a subscription.  With that subscription, they get the additional benefits of an enhanced API, (for better systems integration), regular activity reports, and institution-wide registration of staff with ORCID (where they are not already registered as individuals).  A much more cost-effective way for an institution to join is to be part of a consortium.  Consortium membership has all the benefits of a premium institutional membership, but at half the cost.

Last week has been a big week for ORCID.  There have been two major announcements:  on Monday, the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI) and the Italian National Agency for the Evaluation of the University and Research Institutes (ANVUR) announced that Italy is going to sign up to ORCID as an entire nation!  It will tie into VQR, their national research assessment exercise, and will underpin their Italian Researcher IDentifier for Evaluation (IRIDE).  The second announcement, the following day, was from JISC, in the UK, which announced a national consortium for ORCID, where universities will benefit from reduced ORCID subscription costs.  A total of 72 of Britain’s 109 universities have expressed an interest in joining this consortium.  Unlike Italy, the JISC consortium is an opt-in arrangement.

ResearcherID and Scopus Author ID

Thomson Reuters’s ResearcherID and Elsevier’s Scopus Author ID are two proprietary identifiers which are designed to deal with the same problem addressed by  ORCID.  There is full interoperability between these identifiers and with ORCID, meaning that data can be transferred between all three.

Uniquely, the ORCID initiative is open, non profit, and community based.  Because of this independence and because of the recent news of adoption in Italy and the UK it seems to me that ORCID is well on its way to becoming the de facto researcher identifier.

The ORCID can be used to connect a researcher with research objects such as:

  • datasets
  • equipment
  • articles
  • media stories
  • citations
  • experiments
  • patents
  • notebooks
  • projects
  • institutions, and other affiliations

 

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