Royal Society to make scientific IDs mandatory for its journals

Organisation hopes use of ORCID system will end confusion over authorship and researcher identity

December 7, 2015
Silver Egg Among Plain Eggs

In a bid to eliminate confusing academic social networks and name mix-ups, the Royal Society has announced today that authors submitting to its journals will have to provide a scientific passport.

The passport, called an Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID), is free and was developed by a non-profit organisation. It aims to make it simpler and faster for researchers to submit papers, apply for grants and find collaborators.

ORCID provides a unique ID for every user that will enable links to all their research activities: the grants they hold, the institutions they belong to, datasets, peer review contributions and patents, as well as the papers they have authored.

Through the ID, the Royal Society hopes to ensure that researchers are properly identifiable and are not mistaken for others with similar names in online articles. It will also save researchers time by creating digital CVs that are updated automatically.

The Royal Society will be the first UK publisher to require researchers to provide ORCID identifiers.

Stuart Taylor, publishing director at the Royal Society, said: “We believe that publishers have a key role in promoting systems that provide support to researchers and to science.”

Currently, any author can provide their ORCID identifier when submitting papers to Royal Society journals. From January, however, it will become a requirement for all authors.

Some research funders already make ORCID identifiers mandatory for their grant applicants. The National Institute for Health Research made it compulsory for lead applicants in September.

“We are pleased to be the first UK publisher to make ORCID IDs a requirement for submitting papers to Royal Society journals,” added Mr Taylor. “A number of other publishers are planning to do the same early in 2016, and we hope all publishers will ultimately support this system.”

The announcement follows a four-day discussion and debate held at the Royal Society in April this year.

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Reader's comments (1)

Because identifying someone as a number and not by name has always worked out well in history and been a great motivator. How big is the problem to which this is a solution ?

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