416492 ORCID iDs and Counting: Uptake by the Astronomical Community


Jane Holmquist, Princeton University Library, jane@princeton.edu, 0000-0002-4995-2497;

Christopher Erdmann, Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, cerdmann@cfa.harvard.edu, 0000-0003-2554-180X;

James Damon, Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, jamesgdamon@gmail.com, 0000-0002-1069-2376;


ORCID – an acronym short for Open Researcher and Contributor ID – is an international, interdisciplinary and community-driven effort to create and maintain a registry of persistent, unique identifiers for researchers and scholars. ORCID IDs are extremely important in the disambiguation of non-unique author names. They can also be embedded in key workflows, such as research profile maintenance, manuscript submissions and grant applications. Using several approaches to reach out to our users, we will report on ORCID ID uptake by the astronomical community.


Last October, when Eva Isaksson sent out the Call for Papers for LISA VII, ORCID was just a germ of a paper topic in my mind. I had first heard about ORCID at a PAM (Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics) Vendor Update Session at an SLA conference in June 2010. [1] Among those speaking on the topic of author identification issues were Jessica Kowalski from Elsevier (Product Manager for Scopus) and Ann Kushmerick from Thomson-Reuters (Manager of Research Evaluation and Bibliometric Data for the Web of Science). Both Elsevier and Thomson-Reuters were among the founding members of ORCID at that time and participated in the launch of ORCID October 16, 2012. Today, both Elsevier’s Scopus and Thomson-Reuters’ Web of Science are fully integrated with ORCID. [2]

I didn’t hear much more about ORCID until suddenly last fall, people began mentioning it in various contexts. I had always thought it would be terrific to have a system to accurately identify and link authors’ names with their complete list of publications so my interest was piqued. When I spoke with Chris Erdmann, I discovered that he already had a student (James Damon) about to send a survey to members of the Harvard-Smithsonian/CfA and wider astronomical community to find out how many had already registered for ORCIDs. My plan was to engage Princeton’s astrophysicists and encourage them all to register for ORCIDs. With very similar goals, the three of us decided to collaborate on this project, and to present our results together at the LISA VII conference in June.

As ORCID Ambassadors [3], both Chris and I were eager to persuade people to sign up and link their bibliographies with the Scopus and Web of Science databases. Chris and James distributed a “Get Your ORCID” flyer to everyone at Harvard-Smithsonian/CfA and to colleagues on PAMnet. James worked with Carolyn Stern-Grant at the NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) to find out how many authors were already including their ORCIDs on papers they published. I organized a lunch-time workshop for Princeton’s graduate students and encouraged everyone to bring their laptops so they could sign up then and there. Chris arranged a posting about ORCID on the Astronomers’ Facebook page. At the end of May, a month before the LISA VII conference, we realized we did not have any firm data to talk about “uptake of ORCID in the astronomical community”. How could we even begin to measure it? It was then decided to survey everyone planning to attend the LISA VII conference in order to know our audience better, and to find out what questions, comments or concerns they might have about ORCID.

ORCID Survey sent to LISA VII Participants

On 23 May 2014, a brief survey asking four questions (see Figs.1-4 below) was sent to the 103 people planning to attend the LISA VII conference in Naples, Italy 17-20 June 2014.

Question 1. In what country do you currently reside? We received 81 responses (79 percent) from 21 countries!

Queston 2. Have you heard of ORCID? If people clicked “No”, we encouraged them to read “Ten Things You Need to Know about ORCID Right Now” [4]

Question 3. Do you have an ORCID id? If people clicked “No”, we encouraged them to register at https//:orcid.org/register

Question 4. Do you have any questions, comments or concerns about ORCID? Note that 18 people added comments.


We were pleased to receive survey responses from 81 of 103 LISA VII conference participants (79 percent), representing 21 countries. 33 (41 percent) had not heard of ORCID before receiving the survey (see Fig.2) and 31 (38 percent) responded that they wanted to hear more about ORCID before registering (see Fig.3). Based on this response, we decided to give a brief 10-minute overview of ORCID and the survey results, and then devote the remaining 15 minutes of our session to answering the following questions.

What is ORCID?

“ORCID provides a persistent 16-digit identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized”. [6] This paper was written by 0000-0002-4995-2497, 0000-0003-2554-180X, and 0000-0002-1069-2376. (You can search Google to confirm!) The animated 4-minute video “What is ORCID?” [7] is well-worth watching.

Why do so many ORCID records consist of a name only?

Individuals can choose to keep their information private so that only the name and ORCID appear; another reason is that some people just haven’t taken the time to add more information. But the system is much more valuable when researchers enhance their ORCID records with their professional information (e.g. a short bio and a list of publications) and link their ORCID to other identifiers (such as Scopus’ Author ID or Web of Science’s ResearcherID), as Daniel Egret has done in his ORCID profile. (See Fig.6)

ORCID profile page for Daniel Egret includes his ResearcherID and Scopus Author ID links in lower left column.

What is ResearcherID and how does it work with ORCID?

ResearcherID is the author identifier associated with Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science database. There is no charge to register for a ResearcherID [8] and authors are encouraged to do so. More detailed information and instruction for ResearcherID and ORCID integration are available on the ResearcherID.com website. [9]

What is a SCOPUS Author ID and how does it work with ORCID?

An Author ID is assigned by Elsevier to each and every author who has more than one publication in the Scopus database. Elsevier has a Training Desk website where you can find detailed instructions for importing your SCOPUS author information and publications into your ORCID record. [10]

What plans does ADS have for ORCID?

Alberto Accomazzi, Project Manager of the NASA/ADS at Harvard-Smithsonian/CfA, announced during his LISA VII presentation that ADS should be fully integrated with ORCID by Fall 2014. Plans are 1) to be able to search ADS by ORCID (metadata provided by publisher), 2) link ADS accounts to ORCIDs, 3) export ADS records to ORCID, and 4) import ORCID claims into ADS library.

What plans does ADS have for ORCID?

Alberto Accomazzi, Project Manager of the NASA/Astrophysics Data System at Harvard/CfA, announced during his LISA VII presentation that plans are for ADS to be fully integrated with ORCID by Fall 2014. There are already 1658 ORCIDs in ADS; these have been included in the metadata provided by publishers. Plans are 1) to be able to search ADS by ORCID, 2) link personal ADS accounts to ORCID, 3) export ADS records to ORCID, and 4) import ORCID claims into one’s ADS library.

What plans do publishers have for ORCID?

In order for ORCID to succeed, it must be embraced not only by publishers, but also – and especially – by astronomers and astrophysicists and their professional organizations. All must do their part.

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has endorsed ORCID as a mechanism for author disambiguation and for streamlining the workflow of scholarship. As of 4 June 2014, 11 percent of authors on papers in AAS journals are providing ORCID IDs. [11]

IOP Publishing, publishers of the AAS journals, started accepting ORCID IDs through their peer review process in the spring of 2013 and began depositing the metadata with CrossRef in the fall of 2013.

EDP Publishing, publisher of Astronomy and Astrophysics, is a member of ORCID and is working on implementation.

Andras Holl, one of the editors of the LISA VII conference proceedings, has taken the bold step of requiring all authors to include their ORCID IDs when submitting their papers. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific, publisher of the LISA VII proceedings, will be collecting this information.

How can we persuade scientists to register for an ORCID?

Encouragement from one’s peers is often most successful. To that end, we appreciate August (Gus) Evrard – an astrophysicist and physics professor at the University of Michigan and an ORCID Ambassador – collaborating with librarians in writing an article entitled “Persistent, Global Identity for Scientists via ORCID”. [11] As a scientist himself, he understands the importance of authors acquiring unique identifiers.

We can also share and benefit from our colleagues’ resources for ORCID outreach to students and scientists. Kayleigh Bohemier, Science Research Support Librarian at Yale, has published a step-by-step “Set Up Your ORCID” video on one of her LibGuides. [12] Jane Holmquist has published on Zenodo the slides for her “Getting Organized by Getting ORCIDized” workshop for astrophysics graduate students at Princeton. [13] Chris Erdmann and James Damon have published their “Get Your ORCID: Stand Out from the Crowd” poster, also freely available on Zenodo. [14]

ORCID itself has made available numerous resources to assist you with your own outreach efforts to researchers. [15] These include a great video entitled “What is ORCID?”, one-page flyers, banners, and text to adapt for newsletters or emails to researchers in your organization. These materials are intended to address the interests of researchers and scholars, and all members of the community are invited to use them to help raise awareness and adoption of ORCID identifiers.


Before sending the ORCID survey to the conference participants listed on the LISA VII website on 24 May 2014, it was determined from the ORCID Registry that 24 of the 103 had already registered for an ORCID ID. Eight more signed up before the conference 17-20 June 2014, and 17 more signed up after the conference. As of 31 July 2014, 62 of the LISA VII attendees (many attendees did not receive the initial survey) have registered for ORCID IDs! (See Fig.6)

We believe this demonstrates the usefulness of a survey in raising awareness of a topic before a meeting takes place. The importance of ORCID and its implementation was reinforced again and again during the conference by many of the speakers and members of the audience.

In closing, a final tally from the ORCID.org website:

  • 416,492 ORCID IDs when abstract was submitted 30 November 2013

  • 748,591 ORCID IDs when slides were prepared 14 June 2014, and

  • 829,586 ORCID iDs when paper was submitted 14 August 2014!

Markers indicate the 62 LISA VII conference participants who have registered for ORCID IDs!


[1] Buys, Cunera and Julie Arendt. 2010. Vendor Update Session. P.A.M. Bulletin 38(1): 5-8 http://pam.sla.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/aug10.pdf

[2] http://orcid.org/organizations/integrators/current

[3] http://orcid.org/content/orcid-ambassadors

[4] http://blog.impactstory.org/ten-things-you-need-to-know-about-orcid-right-now/

[5] http://orcid.org

[6] http://vimeo.com/97150912

[7] https://www.researcherid.com/SelfRegistration.action

[8] http://wokinfo.com/researcherid/

[9] http://trainingdesk.elsevier.com/videos/importing-scopus-author-information-into-an-orcid-record

[10] Biemesderfer, Chris. Personal communication.

[11] Evrard, August E., Christopher Erdmann, Jane Holmquist, James Damon and Dianne Dietrich. Persistent, Global Identity for Scientists via ORCID. To be submitted to arXiv last week of August 2014.

[12] http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11301

[13] http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11244

[14] http://guides.library.yale.edu/physics/organizing-research/orcid

[15] http://orcid.org/content/orcid-ambassadors-1/outreachresources

[Someone else is editing this]

You are editing this file