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I recently discover the existence of unique digital identifier for researchers (such as the one proposed by ORCID or ResearcherID).

I never really heard about it, maybe because it is not common in my field (biological sciences) and I was wondering about the interest and use of such identifier.

So my question is twofold:

1) What are the interest of using an unique digital identifier as a researcher?

2) Is it commonly used in the scientific community (by publishers, databases, commitees)?

PS: related but not the same question here

1 Answer 1

  1. Well, search for publications of a John Smith (no middle name), or a Lee Wang, or any common name, and you'll have a hard time identifying them because of the many homonyms… Publishers and database owners are trying hard to help users, by trying to guess who is who (Web of Science calls this “Unique author set”), but their algorithms don't do very well.

    As an example, I have a colleague who has a paper completely outside her main field. None of these algorithms pick it up.

    Thus, because a researcher’s name is not unique, many people argue that there is need of a unique ID scheme. (Others disagree: “I’m not a number!”). As a researcher, the benefits are:

    • easier for others to identify your articles in databases
    • easier to keep track of your citations, especially for items other than conventional journal articles
    • possibilities for cool web hyperlinks, like DOI has brought
  2. The Orcid registry was launched yesterday, so noöne uses it so far…


My own concern about it is that I don't know in detail on the ORCID consortium will use the data they will be able to mine. In particular, this worries me:

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