Status update on Orcid (Name Author Identifier)

By David F. Flanders (Programme Manager for Identifiers in the Digital Infrastructure Team). David went to the Wellcome library in London this past Thursday to hear an update from the Orcid initiative.  Some quick updates follows…

Orcid, yes you should all know about it (and yes it is spelled that way) – why?

  • This is an organisation made up of publishers, content providers and researchers who are proposing a non-profit (508c US) organisation be created to manage and map author identifiers to a common Orcid academic author ID (including authors, editors, publishers and anyone else involved in the scholarly publishing process).  A kind of scholarly name identifier system in the cloud.

How is this non-profit organisation going to sustain themselves?

  • It is still early days, but they have agreed that the organisation will make the entire #orcid dataset available (via a Creative-Commons-Zero license) for download *once per year*, subject to author agreement about making the data available.  Orcid did not provide a screenshot of what the options would be like when an individual goes to register their author identifier which is of concern; for example, how orcid present the tickbox or options for the author to license their data will have considerable affect on if the data is made openly available.  The business model for orcid seems to be on their ability to have a competitive advantage with the data so they can sustain themselves into the future (though again no decisions on the business model have been made).

Is there an actual system built yet?

  • Well no not really, there are some dummy screenshots that have been created as an “alpha” example, but nothing ready for production thus far (see #orchid twitter stream re ‘alpha'[1]).  Orcid will be looking to establish a way of working with the community to build the system.  For example, via code contribution (open source?) or via donations to their technical team (which is yet to be formed).  in short, there are *no* technical decision that have been firmly decided upon yet.

Will Orcid be good for the sector as a global name registry?

  • Orcid as a global wide system where authors can match their identifiers with a single Orcid ID is widely agreed as a good idea as all systems will be able to take advantage of bringing together names of people as they relate to publication (and the management of scholarly publication), however the pragmatics of matching author identifiers be that their local university home page profile identifier (e.g. or a national identifier ( to a global identifier is still yet to be decided. For example, one could imagine a bottom up campaign for researchers to go directly to orchid to register their orchid IDs (but obvious multiple-account-dragons-lie-here), or librarians could register the authors identifier on behalf of their institutions authors.  Overall, everyone is still not sure on the processes for enabling this identifier ‘minting’ and ‘matching’ to occur.

What this space 🙂

[1]= Tweets from the day via #orcid tag, please see twapper keeper for full set of archived tweets on Orcid:

2 thoughts on “Status update on Orcid (Name Author Identifier)

  1. Jonathan Rochkind

    “(but obvious multiple-account-dragons-lie-here)”

    I’m not seeing the obvious dragons. In general, in most cases, isn’t it in the authors interest to make sure they’re identity is NOT split amongst identifiers? If they accidentally do, as long as the mechanism is provided for them to merge the orcids, they will use it. (such a mechanism needs to exist regardless; any method of creating identifiers will sometimes accidentally create more than one for the same person, which need to be merged).

    We can imagine certain edge cases where they would prefer to maintain seperate pen names or something. I don’t think these will harm the overall system much even if not repaired.

    Or am I missing the nature of your suggested dragons (which in that case are even less obvious!)?

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