What is ORCID?

ORCID® is a global registry of author and researcher identifiers established by an international collaboration of publishers, researchers, research institutions, and funders. The purpose of ORCID is to allow researchers and contributors to academic publications to create for themselves a unique, lifelong ORCID identifier. The adoption of ORCID iDs throughout the research, funding, and publishing life cycle will bring significant benefits – simplifying research workflows, resolving name ambiguity, and ensuring correct attribution of research and other activities.


Resolving name ambiguity

Every researcher’s ORCID iD will uniquely identify themselves among the global research community. A researcher’s ORCID identifier will be persistent throughout changes in the researcher’s own name, or throughout changes in affiliation with research institutions.

Name ambiguity is a global issue. A study in the J Med Libr Assoc found that up to 69% of Spanish authors are indexed under more than one name. Another in JCDL 2009 found 70% of names in Medline are non-unique. In recent years, the growth in published research from Asian countries has caused particular challenges for systems which attempt to disambiguate authors using only name and/or institution. The top 100 surnames in China account for 84.77% of the population. By comparison, in the United States, the top 100 surnames account for only 16.4% of the US population [source]. Names including special characters, or requiring transliteration also result in multiple variants. ORCID solves all of these name ambiguity problems by providing researchers with unique identifiers.

Furthermore, authors with name variations throughout their publication career (for example, name changes following marriage or divorce) can link all variations of their names to one ORCID identifier.

Ensuring correct attribution

ORCID provides a simple and transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to individuals. These links, as well as other information such as alternative names, and biographical information, are available on a researcher’s ORCID profile page.

An industry-wide solution

Rather than individual funding organizations, universities, or publishers building solutions in their own domains to provide robust author identification, ORCID solves this problem once, centrally. The ORCID registry has been designed using rich APIs to allow simple integration with any third party service that requires author identifiers.

How authors and researchers get ORCID iDs

Any author or researcher can go to ORCID and create an ORCID iD for themselves for free.

A rapidly growing number of academic institutions are integrating their network sign in systems with ORCID. If you are a member of an institution, you should contact your local IT staff to inquire how you can connect your ORCID iD with your institutional username.