Current status of Open Researcher Identifier ORCID and greetings from Nordics Workshop

”Enter once, reuse often” describes the goals of Open Researcher Identifier – to be linkable, global and transparent. To gain improvements for researchers, ORCID among other persistent identifiers need better infrastructure and wider implementation in the research process, including research funding application and reporting. These issues were discussed in Nordics ORCID workshop on May 29th, 2018.

ORCID – the Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier – has now been around for six years. ORCID identifier links research information (employments, research fundings, works) to person’s identity globally and transparently. University of Helsinki started ORCID implementation in 2014 and was one of the founding members of the National Finnish ORCID Consortium in 2016.

Currently some 3 400 researchers at the University of Helsinki have added their ORCID iD to University’s research database. Starting December 2016, researchers have been able to  synchronize selection of their research information from the research database to ORCID. Some 2 800 researchers have opted to do so (guide is available here).

ORCID practices and ongoing projects related to identifiers and research funding were discussed in Nordics ORCID workshop on May 29th, 2018.  This is my report from the workshop and how some of the topics relate to work done at the University of Helsinki and nationally.

Enter once, reuse often

In the Principles of Open Publishing of the University of Helsinki section 7 it is required that researchers adopt the ORCID identifier, link the identifier to their research database profiles and use it when publishing academic articles and other written work.

Helsinki University Library also recommends that researchers use ORCID iD in all web presence, funding applications and data management. Recently we have realized that as metadata of research datasets are becoming more interesting,  ORCID could be the key in identifying data set creators and their affiliations.

Using ORCID iD throughout the research process greatly helps managing research information. ORCID iD should be used actively, distributed across databases and services and thus linked to other identifiers. Aim is to make information transparent and trustworthy globally.

Currently researchers use time to add same information multiple times to multiple systems. This is just simply inefficient. ORCID Executive Director Laurel Haak’s presentation summarizes how the core idea of ORCID is to build services throughout the research process and to support researchers to claim ownership of their own data.

Publication duplicates in ORCID profile

Publications are part of the works section in ORCID portal. Researcher can import publications to own ORCID profile from multiple sources, e.g. institution’s research database, CrossRef, ResearcherID and Scopus. Also files in BibTex format can be used. This can create duplicates and as our research database at the University of Helsinki is one of the culprits, we have had some feedback on this. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix.

ORCID uses persistent identifiers (e.g. DOI = Digital Object Identifier) to identify publications. If source databases hold inconsistent persistent identifiers for same publication, ORCID does not recognize same publication and creates duplicates in person’s ORCID profile. Currently the cure is to make sure all source databases use same persistent identifier.

Expanding the infrastructure of persistent identifiers

ORCID is a partner in a EU-funded project FREYA  that will create a unique and eternally persistent identifier infrastructure. Idea is to globally connect current persistent identifier systems and accommodate new PID types and new services. To learn more about this, please see Simon Lambert’s presentation. Project FREYA started in December 2017 and it follows project THOR where one of the aims was to establish interoperability between ORCID and DataCite infrastructures.

For example, currently University of Helsinki publications get persistent identifiers from e.g. these persistent identifier systems: DOI’s from e.g. CrossRef, URN’s from The National Library of Finland and handles from various digital archives. Researchers get personal identifiers from the University, ORCID, ResearcherID and Scopus. There are organisations, funders, research infrastructures, datasets etc with identifiers as well.

We use time and effort to track research information across systems, services and identifiers. It would be valuable to have this information by default. Researchers and research institutions both would benefit from more easily manageable and higher quality information on scientific output.

Research funding and ORCID

Very little in the research ecosystem happens without the support of research funders. This has been true in promoting open publishing and open data. How could the open researcher identifier be any different?

ORCID has now taken the initiative in engaging funding organisations in the ORCID Reducing Burden and Improving Transparency (ORBIT) project. The aim is to engage research funding organisations globally with open researcher identifier and other persistent identifiers to automate the flow of information between systems, and thus support open science. For example, during funding application, applicant could pick data from ORCID to funders system. There is a working group (European representatives from the UK and Portugal) and practical pilot projects to integrate PID’s in funder systems. This is still in early stages. To learn more, please read Josh Brown’s presentation .

In Finland, it would be valuable for research funders to start using ORCID iD and other persistent identifiers for example via the national data warehouse project. Researchers would benefit from easier reporting and funders would get validated publication data from the national publication system VIRTA.

For example, currently Academy of Finland offers VIRTA-publications for reporting, but for application period publications are submitted manually. Using ORCID iD would provide this service more automation and make it available for larger audience.

Should national funding organizations engage more with ORCID iD, researchers would direct more attention to their ORCID profiles and how ORCID iD is used in other processes. This would also translate into better data.

About the workshop

CSC – IT Center for Science and ORCID organized the workshop together. It is always good to meet colleagues. Participation was limited to one per institution. In addition to above-mentioned talks, there were presentations from the Universities of Aalborg, Lund, Helsinki and Jyväskylä and the national system from Norway. Interestingly Norway is re-writing their system to better use persistent identifiers. It will be very useful to see how this goes as we have been thinking along these lines as well.

All presentations are available at

Read more on ORCID:

Aija Kaitera is information specialist at the Helsinki University Library,  administrator of the University of Helsinki research database and chair of ORCID national working group.