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!