Five Easy Ways to Get the Most Out of ORCID – For Both Researchers and Organizations

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23 February 2022 | Chris Shillum, Tom Demeranville, and Julie Petro, ORCID
As adoption of ORCID grows, new challenges are presented and we’ve learned that in our efforts to achieve our vision, “trust” is the linchpin. How ORCID approaches trust – individual control, accountability via public scrutiny, and integrity via strict provenance tracking – has changed very little in recent years. A series of blog posts outlines our thinking about how we balance researcher control and data quality, while adhering to our values of openness, trust, and inclusivity. In this post, we offer five easy tips for both researchers (to ensure they can get the most out of their records) and ORCID members (to help make ORCID more useful for their researchers and for their organization).

Well-populated ORCID records benefit everyone

By Chris Shillum, Tom Demeranville, and Julie Petro, ORCID, USA

As adoption of ORCID grows, new challenges are presented, and we’ve learned that in our efforts to achieve our vision, “trust” is the linchpin. How ORCID approaches trust – individual control, accountability via public scrutiny, and integrity via strict provenance tracking – has changed very little since the launch of the ORCID Trust Program in 2016. A series of blog posts outlines our thinking about how we balance researcher control and data quality, while adhering to our values of openness, trust, and inclusivity. In this post, we offer five easy tips for both researchers (to ensure they can get the most out of their records) and ORCID members (to help make ORCID more useful for their researchers and for their organization).

ORCID’s community comprises multiple stakeholder groups, the largest of which are record holders – the researchers, contributors, other innovators who sign up for ORCID iDs, and member organizations, including: universities and research institutions; publishers, associations, and conferences; funders and facilities; policymakers and government; and service providers, among others.

dark green banner with gray and green ORCID logo


ORCID record holders

ORCID’s original use case was for name disambiguation, ensuring researchers could claim credit for their work, regardless of how many others shared their same or similar name. Now that ORCID records have been in use for close to 10 years, we know that researchers value their ORCID record as a place to link all of their research activities in one place – affiliations, funding, publications, and other contributions – and appreciate that their data can be easily moved to and from ORCID and the systems they use for funding, publications, research data, etc. This reduces their administrative burden and saves them time as they manage and share their contributions with an increasing number of disparate systems. We are also learning that ORCID can help reduce the negative consequences of name changes so researchers are no longer limited to the name they used when they began their career.


Organizations across the research ecosystem

Our organizational stakeholder landscape is complex, and the benefits of well-populated ORCID records are numerous. There are some consistent themes across the ecosystem, however, including reducing the administrative burden (on both researchers and organizational staff) and time spent re-keying data during critical submission, review, reporting and assessment exercises, extending the reach of organizational systems by way of connecting with an open repository, and understanding and improving the visibility of institutional, regional, or national research outputs.

In 2021, we conducted extensive research with our organizational members on the value of ORCID. We wanted to learn more about the value members are getting from their ORCID membership, what things they would like to see more of, what things may not be working, and how we can deliver even more value to them. We spoke with over 80 representatives from 42 member organizations, and analyzed survey responses from 260 respondents from member representatives. The research revealed two overarching needs that members have to help them achieve their goals for ORCID membership:

  • More well-populated ORCID records connected to trusted organizations
  • Lower barriers to integration, especially for those with less resources or technical know-how 

To sum up, the more well-populated ORCID records and integrated systems there are, the more value that our entire community can gain from participating in ORCID. From the researchers’ perspective, this means reduced administrative burden and time saved managing research outputs so that researchers have more time to spend on the research itself. For organizations, that includes the ability to better understand the impact of the research they facilitate or fund. Our entire ORCID community – our researchers and organizations – rely on and benefit from the activities of each other.

yin-yang visual for ORCID records


Records with visible data are more discoverable

Discoverability is an increasingly important use case for a lot of researchers and is a good argument for encouraging record holders to make record data publicly accessible, or to set the visibility of their data to “Everyone.” Considering most of the data found in an ORCID record is likely publicly accessible from institutions, funders, publishers, or other sources, it makes sense to set the visibility of the data in the ORCID record to “Everyone” as well.


ORCID, which stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID, is a global, not-for-profit organization with a vision of the world where all who participate in research, scholarship, and innovation are uniquely identified and connected to their contributions across disciplines, borders, and time. ORCID strives to enable transparent and trustworthy connections between researchers and their contributions and researchers and their affiliations by providing a unique, persistent identifier for individuals to use as they engage in research, scholarship, and innovation activities. Confidence and trust are important and there are controls, policies, and practices in place so these connections are controlled by researchers and the source of each connection is openly articulated. The ORCID Trust program was established in 2016 based on 10 principles that guide the organization. A series of blog posts marked the 5-year anniversary of balancing research control and data quality.


Tips for researchers

The ORCID record is where links to all your research information are accessible via your own unique profile – to be used wherever you need it. Here are a few things you can do right now to make your record more useful.


1. Check out our new UI and do a visibility check

If you’re reading this, chances are you have an ORCID iD, but when was the last time you logged in? If it’s been awhile, you may be surprised by all the changes we’ve made to both the My ORCID UI and to the types of data you can add to your record. Check out our Quick Tour video and sign in! If you haven’t visited your ORCID record in a while, you may find that some of the visibility settings in your records data may be set to “Only me” as this used to be the default setting when adding new items to an ORCID record. You are in complete control of the visibility of each piece of data in your ORCID record. If discoverability is important to you in your work, check to see that your data is visible to “Everyone.” Visibility settings are easily accessible in My ORCID, and you can edit them directly from the main interface.


ORCID user type visual


2. Create some connections

Many ORCID records were created by enthusiastic early adopters who could unfortunately derive limited immediate benefit from their records because we did not yet have many member organizations making connections with the ORCID registry via authenticated workflows. A lot has changed – we now have nearly 4,000 integrations across research and academic institutions, publishers, funders, and other service providers and more are being added all the time.

One way to allow your trusted organizations to link with and make updates to your record – so you can get credit for your work! – is by including your iD when you submit to publishers, apply for grants, or in any number of research workflows being continually added. Another way is to import data from integrated systems via any of the “Search & link” tools integrated into the Works and Funding sections of My ORCID. By linking your record with trusted organizations, the provenance of any data they add is also recorded and disclosed. This leads to what we call “trust markers” in your record, such as affiliations added by institutions, grants validated by funders, and publications validated by publishers. The more trust markers you have in your ORCID record, the more likely it is that anyone using the data in your record will have confidence that it is accurate.


3. Get to know the ORCID Inbox 

The ORCID Inbox is the messaging system in My ORCID. In it you can manage how and when you receive notifications from us about changes to your record, as well as announcements and service messages from ORCID. Access the Inbox when signed into My ORCID by clicking on your name at the top right corner, then clicking on Inbox. In the Inbox, you will find notifications about:

  • Account and record changes, such as updates made to your record by trusted organizations, requests to add works or other activities to your record, notifications about being made a trusted individual
  • New features and tips, sent around three to four times a year
  • Service messages related to or affecting your ORCID account, sent irregularly and which we are required to send

Learn more about the ORCID Inbox here.


4. Take advantage of auto-updates from Crossref

If you’ve never checked your ORCID Inbox, you may find there are some helpful notifications there, including one asking if you’d like to grant Crossref long-lasting permission to update your record automatically whenever a new work associated with your ORCID iD is found in their system – from any of their over 15,000 member publishers. 

Crossref is currently the only system which uses the ORCID Inbox to send auto-update requests. The request is sent to your ORCID Inbox after a publisher submits a new work to Crossref, as long as you provided your ORCID iD to the publisher on submission. If you do not want to grant permission to update your record with the new work, simply ignore the notification from Crossref. Learn more about granting permissions to trusted parties from your ORCID Inbox here and about the Crossref auto-update here.


5. Designate a trusted individual

Did you know you can grant permission to one or more trusted individuals to update your ORCID record? As simple as we work to make the My ORCID UI, some researchers may wish to delegate a proxy – a “trusted individual” – to help them edit information on it or make connections with external systems. A trusted individual does not need to be another researcher, but they must have their own ORCID iD. Find out more about “trusted individuals” here.

trusted individual screenshot from ORCID

Tips for organizations

As we mentioned in our previous blog post in the Trust series, ORCID utilizes a distributed trust model in order to balance the sometimes-competing priorities of researcher control and data quality. When reliable, trustworthy data sources are connected to an ORCID record via authenticated workflows – always with the record holder’s permission – to assert data into the record. The provenance of these assertions are recorded and transparently disclosed, enabling users of ORCID data to judge the veracity and trustworthiness of information in ORCID records for themselves. These asserted data lead to what we call “trust markers,” and the key to creating as many trust markers as possible in an ORCID record is to ensure that the records of your researchers are set up to receive updates from organizations they engage with.

Through our Member Value Research project in 2021, we learned that the objectives of our member organizations are generally highly aligned with ORCID’s, and they understand and are supportive of our mission. However, many of our members have told us that it can be difficult to realize the promised value of ORCID when there is lack of technical resources and expertise to integrate and assert data into ORCID records. We also heard it can be challenging to engage a critical mass of their researchers to register for and use their ORCID records. ORCID is committed to being more proactive in delivering value to member research institutions, rather than simply enabling and expecting you to integrate with our API.

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1. Enable the Affiliation Manager (for consortia members)

A key priority for us at ORCID is to make it easier for institutions to add validated affiliations to the ORCID records of their researchers. The Affiliation Manager, which is available to all consortium members, enables members to add affiliation data (Employment, Education and qualifications, Invited positions and distinctions, Membership and service) to ORCID records by simply uploading a CSV file without the need for any technical integration.

Check out this blog post to learn how University of Georgia was able to elicit a high level of engagement with graduate students to register for an ORCID record and grant permission for UGA to write affiliations to their records, and this guest blog post by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) that shares their experience as the first institution to use the Affiliation Manager for Invited positions and distinctions. Visit our website to learn what you need to do to enable affiliation manager for your organization.

ORCID's affiliation manager for members' records


2. Check for existing integrations with systems you already use

Did you know that some of the systems you use may already be ORCID-enabled? Many Current Research Information System (CRIS), funding, repository, and publishing platform vendors offer built-in support for ORCID, which enables member organizations to collect authenticated ORCID iDs and in some cases, synchronize data between their system and ORCID records. If your organization is an ORCID member and you use any of these systems, make sure you enable your ORCID connection!

ORCID's information systems illustration


3. Build or expand your integrations

If the key systems that you use internally are not yet ORCID-enabled, you can do the work yourselves to integrate them. Our APIs follow common technical standards and have already been used by thousands of organizations to integrate their systems. If your organization doesn’t have an integration yet, or you’ve been considering expanding on your current integration by adding additional functionality, check out our “Getting Started” documentation. Additionally, we have Member Support Technical Specialist (MSTS) staff on hand to help ORCID member organizations navigate through the API integration process, so if you are a member, consider reaching out to your engagement lead to find out more about this resource.


4. Encourage your researchers register for and use their records

In addition to all of the product-oriented work we are doing to make ORCID records easier and more delightful to use, one of our top strategic priorities is to help our members help their researchers understand the value of their ORCID records as they pertain to their institution’s unique context. As we create more outreach resources for organizations, we will be sharing on our outreach resources page. If you have an integration with ORCID, encourage your researchers to set up connections with your systems and to update their records. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Circulate emails articulating the benefits of ORCID and encouraging researchers to register from a senior member of staff (e.g., vice-chancellor)
  • Include agenda items at relevant formal and informal meetings across the institution
  • Conduct promotional events both in the Library and within academic departments
  • Give presentations and provide training sessions
  • Add guidance and instructions on Library and institutional web pages, including FAQ content, libguides
  • Share on institutional blogs and social media
  • Create posters, digital screens, and pop-up stands
  • Include iDs on postcards and business cards
  • Check out our branded items, e.g., badges, t-shirts, sweatshirts
  • Include ORCID iDs in signature blocks
5. Explore your new Member Reports

Get deeper insights with improved data visualization from your member reports whenever you want!  All members – consortium and direct – have access to new and improved member and integration reports in the member portal. ORCID Member Reports are now on-demand and contain insightful data about how integrations are being used, such as how many researchers have connected their iDs to an integration and how many records have been updated via the integration. If you do not have access to the Member Portal, please reach out to your organization’s ORCID contact, Consortia Lead, or ORCID Engagement Lead.

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Working together towards ORCID’s vision

The concept of “communities of practice” is one we talk about a lot at ORCID and we believe that by working together with all sectors of the global research community – disparate as their priorities and cultures often are – we can facilitate conversations that help increase the openness and reliability of research information. If you are an ORCID member, you can find out about events and activities being conducted by other organizations in ORCID’s community through our monthly Member Connect newsletter, sent at the end of each month. We encourage you to check out the events that are happening around ORCID’s community, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, subscribe to our blog updates, and look for success stories from other member organizations, perhaps just like yours.

The more well-populated ORCID records and integrated systems there are, the more value that both researchers and the entire community can gain from participating in ORCID. Though there are some simple things that both researchers and organizations can do right now to derive more value from ORCID, we are working hard to strengthen the “virtuous circle” of ORCID use and adoption and bring more tangible value to our community along the way, thus furthering our vision of a world where all who participate in research, scholarship, and innovation are uniquely identified and connected to their contributions across disciplines, borders, and time.


This is an edited version of a post that was previously published on the ORCID website. View the original here.

About the Authors

Chris Shullum is ORCID’s executive director. With more than 25 years of experience in product and platform development in scholarly communications and STM publishing, Chris brings to ORCID his deep expertise in product and technology strategy in a time of rapidly changing business models, technological advances, and increasing expectations from users and customers.

Tom Demeranville is ORCID's product director, he ensures our technology is responsive to our community and aligned with the organization’s mission.

Julie Petro is ORCID’s director of communications and is responsible for setting and guiding the strategy for all ORCID communications and ensures our communications activities embed the organization’s values, align its core strategies, and consistently articulate ORCID’s mission.