Three reasons to register for an ORCID identifier

By Anne Dreyfuss
VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research

The New Year inspires many of us to make positive changes in our lives. We may resolve to eat healthier, get more sleep, or save money. While those resolutions have the potential to improve our personal lives and overall health, less thought is often given to resolutions that could improve our professional lives.

As a researcher, you have likely heard about ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID). The unique, persistent identifier distinguishes scientific and other academic authors from one another. Perhaps you have been asked to provide an ORCID ID in a grant application or in an academic journal article that you were submitting for review, but haven’t seen the value in taking the time to register.

If you are a researcher, registering for an ORCID ID could be the most impactful resolution you make this year. There are many reasons why more than 5.6 million ORCID IDs have been issued since the organization first launched its registry service in 2012. Some researchers register to make themselves more searchable, while others do so to make their research more accessible to the public. While the motivation for registering may vary and can be as unique as the 16-digit identifiers themselves, the bottom line remains the same – registering for an ORCID ID can help you advance your science and improve your career.

Need more convincing? Here are three reason to consider registering for an ORCID ID in 2019:

  1.  The ORCID ID will distinguish you apart from your name

Many early-career researchers start publishing academic journal articles and working on grant funded research when they are young, before life changes such as marriage, divorce or gender transition leads to a name change. Without an ORCID ID, the work that was published before the individual changed their name could be lost, or worse, attributed to someone else. Even if a researcher’s name remains the same throughout their career, there might be another researcher who shares the same name, some of whom may work in the same field or even at the same institution. By registering for an ORCID ID, you can ensure that your work remains attributed to you, helping to eliminate cases of name ambiguity among authors.

  1. It makes it easier for researchers to link their identities to their funders and institutions

Numerous academic institutions, including the Wright Center, track the results of grants they have funded as a performance measure when reporting annual productivity to federal institutions such as the National Institutes of Health. By identifying a researcher with their ORCID ID, rather than with their name, institutions like the Wright Center are better able to follow early-career investigators throughout their research lifespan, and measure if a pilot grant, scholarship, or other support mechanism had an impact years later. Further, the federal funding agencies that provide grants to institutions like the Wright Center rely on the same kind of assessment process when working with legislatures to receive funding. Linking ORCID IDs to grants allows for a faster and more accurate process for funders to build evidence that tax dollars are well spent.

  1. It reduces paperwork

Many institutions request that researchers list previous work, including affiliations, funding history and collaborators in grant applications and manuscript submissions. With an ORCID ID, the arduous hours spent filling out paperwork can be drastically reduced, with researchers’ previous funding organizations, research activities and more automatically populating in submission forms.

Registering for an ORCID ID helps build a world in which every researcher is credited correctly. In the digital age, many researchers are at a disadvantage simply because of their name. Search engines are not currently optimized to address these challenges, but ORCID IDs provide a solution. If every researcher uses an ORCID ID, all researchers stand to benefit.

Feeling inspired? Visit to learn more and register for an ORCID ID today.

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