ORCID - The 16 Digit Identity

Image credit: Orcid.org

Because You is You

For many years, tracking the research work and quotations of many researchers has been difficult. Common names and surnames, cultural differences in the way the names are put on paper, transliteration - this all was leading to a "small mess" in the research world. A simple 16-digit identifier aims to solve this.


There are 21,752 people in the U.S. named John Davis. Now, imagine if they all were researchers. How would you know, who wrote the article you just read and who deserves the credit for this newest discovery you have just found? Now imagine, in the country of John Davis, a different alphabet is in use. Even though there are transliteration rules and customs, often people are not familiar with them, and writing a name with Latin letters might result in 5 different names. Or maybe in John's country, when you put your name on the paper, you put the surname first - so Davis John. How do you know you are reading a paper by John Davis and not by Davis John? These questions were circulating for years in the scientific world and the issue needed a one-time proper solution. This is how ORCID was born.

Brief History

ORCID is a non-profit organization that provides researchers with a unique digital identifier. Its roots go back to the first Name Identifier Summit.  On November 9, 2009, different members of the research community announced, that they plan to work together on solving the problem with name ambiguity in scholarly communication. In 2010, ORCID was founded as a nonprofit organization. On 16 October 2012, ORCID launched its registry services and started issuing user identifiers. 

Image credit: Pixabay

The Identifier

Since ORCID is a membership-based nonprofit organization, financed by membership fees, creating an ORCID number is free for the researchers. You receive it by simply creating a profile on the ORCID website and filling in your data. ORCID IDs are specified as HTTP URIs with a 16-digit number compatible with the ISO Standard (ISO 27729). A typical ORCID ID looks like this -  https://orcid.org/0000-0001-2345-6789. ORCID IDs are assigned randomly by the ORCID registry from a block of numbers set aside for them by the ISNI International Agency. The system is built in a way, that the same number can not be assigned to different people.


Today ORCID has more than 1000 members from all around the world. As of January 2021, more than 10,5 million accounts have been created and the number is constantly growing. Many scientific journals require providing an ORCID ID when submitting a paper for review and publication. SWS Scholarly Society's own eLibrary provides an easy connection and quoting tracking for each author, based on their ORCID ID.

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Sunday, 28 February 2021

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