This is an opinion piece reflecting on my experiences so far of advocating ORCID iDs.
We recently started a concerted effort to implement and advocate the adoption of ORCID iDs at Lancaster University. By watching the adoption of ORCID grow among universities, publishers, funders and open science/access enthusiasts, and understanding the benefits it appeared to offer, it suddenly seemed inevitable.
It seemed, from my point of view, that we moved rapidly beyond talking about it as an interesting and potentially useful ‘thing’ that researchers can use if they like, to gaining strong backing from Associate Deans for Research and relevant Heads of Service. A field for adding ORCID iDs was quickly added to Pure, with a Pure to ORCID synchronisation following soon after.
At this point, advocacy for large scale adoption has started. I have been sold on the benefits in theory for a while. Who in the business hasn’t encountered the problem of name ambiguity when trying to match authors with publications? Whether you are searching the literature, building a citation overview, a CV or submitting a list of prior publications, this bit is a pain. If there was a way to use ORCID iDs as some sort of authority register, and push and pull that data (or a subset of it) into different systems, then that would be great.
However, I’ve perceived a few problems in this first period of advocacy. Whether the problem is in the message or in the technology, I’m not certain. I expect these problems will be ironed out by continuous development, and use cases.