New overview article about the project in May/June 2012 (47.3) issue of EDUCAUSE Review
Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID): Solving the Name Ambiguity Problem
Head of Architecture for the Intellectual Property & Science Business
Chairman, ORCID Technical Working Group
Clinical Fellow at Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
Chairman, ORCID Outreach Working Group
EDUCAUSE Review (May/June 2012)
The Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID) initiative was started in November 2009 to solve the author name ambiguity problem in scholarly communication. Author name ambiguity means that the author name can’t be used to reliably identify all scholarly authors, thus making it impossible to unanimously associate scholarly works with their authors. The inadequacy of author names as unique identifiers becomes obvious with common names such as Smith in the United States or Chen in China. Computer algorithms can disambiguate most authors using location, date, subject area, and coauthorship information but will still be wrong 5–10 percent of the time.
The ORCID service intends to start issuing unique author identifiers in the late second or third quarter of 2012. The initial focus will be on active researchers, and they will be able to create, edit, and maintain an ORCID ID free of charge. ORCID identifiers will be 16 digit numbers, segmented into four-digit groups and including a checksum. They will be expressed as HTTP URI (such as http://orcid.org/0137-1963-7688-2319). ORCID identifiers contain no semantic information, such as the year the identifier was minted or the country of origin, and they are issued out of sequence.
The ORCID initiative aims to make the ORCID author identifier an essential part of the scholarly infrastructure, similar to digital object identifiers (DOIs) and other persistent identifiers for scholarly objects. To facilitate widespread adoption, participation in ORCID is open to any organization that has an interest in scholarly communication. More than 310 organizations are already participating.
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