Make Your Research Mark with ORCID

You solve a lot of problems when writing a dissertation. Designing experiments, digging through obscure archives, carefully constructing arguments: all of this is difficult work. But another issue arises after the writing is done. How do you ensure that the people who read your work know you were the one who did it?

The problem of name ambiguity is deceptively tricky. You may share your name with another researcher, like the 10 Steve Smiths on the National Center for Science Education’s “List of Steves.” You may change your name due to marriage or other reasons. You may simply use a different version of your name in different contexts, like former Democratic presidential candidate Bernard “Bernie” Sanders.

Earth from space

There are enough possible ORCIDs to give one to every person on earth—1.3 million times. Photo courtesy of NASA.

A Name of Numbers

Enter ORCID: Open Researcher and Contributor Identification. You can think of ORCID as a Social Security number for researchers: a permanent, unique identifier that you can associate with your work to resolve any uncertainty about authorship. Because each ORCID is 16 digits long, there are enough possible combinations for every human on the planet to have one—actually, everyone could have 1.3 million.

Nearly 2 million academics have signed up for an ORCID, in total laying claim to over 12 million documents. Some of the biggest names in research publishing, including PLOS, The Royal Society and Science, now mandate that researchers submit their work with an ORCID. Many grant agencies are also requiring applicants to include the number on their proposals. Now is the perfect time to claim your own ORCID and make sure you’re prepared.

Making it Work

Registering for an ORCID is free and takes around 30 seconds. After entering your first and last names, email and a password, you’ll get your unique identifier (mine is 0000-0003-0516-0647). You’ll then be able to add education, employment, funding and works under your ID. ORCID partners with research databases such as CrossRef and the MLA International Bibliography to simplify the search for publications, but you can also add works manually.

UC offers an easier option to register for an ORCID: You can access a prefilled registration form linked to your UC email through Scholar@UC—the UC digital repository—on your profile page. Currently you can enrich your ORCID profile with content in Scholar using a DOI (digital object identifier) given to the work.

From there, simply use your ORCID when submitting publications or applying for grants. Your new work will automatically be collected under your ID, making it easy for others to verify your authorship and see what other work you’ve done. Letting ORCID manage your authorship information means you can spend more time on work you enjoy.

Written by Daniel Walton, Graduate Assistant to the Graduate School Office