Who’s Who? ORCID and the Author Disambiguation Issue

I’m speaking at the ORCID (Open Research and Contributor ID) Meeting at Harvard on May 18th. ORCID is a global initiative tackling the author name ambiguity issue, with over 200 participating organizations including academic institutions, publishers, societies, corporate, non-profit and government organizations.

Author names create a lot problems for repositories like SSRN. We often find errors and inconsistencies with common, hyphenated, and non-English names, especially those with foreign characters. The problem grows exponentially when you accept submissions from a variety of sources, each with their own quality criteria.  It is no longer accurate or reliable to depend on first name/last cataloging. Even before the dawn of the digital age, scholarly research and publishing struggled with this challenge and now, it has become an issue that needs to be resolved.

ORCID is a community of minds working to create a central registry/ID, where each author/contributor would have their own unique ID.

“Accurate identification of researchers and their work is one of the pillars for the transition from science to e-Science, wherein scholarly publications can be mined to spot links and ideas hidden in the ever-growing volume of scholarly literature.”

A well written article released in WIRED explained that an ORCID ID would accumulate credit beyond published papers. For example, speaking, data, public outreach and blogging would be attributed to a single source or individual, basically “…anything that helps science but currently goes unrewarded.”

Beyond The Book recently interviewed Amy Brand, a member of the ORCID Initiative’s Board of Directors (and Assistant Provost for Faculty Appointments at Harvard University). Amy provides a thorough overview of ORCID’s principles, vision and explains how it would improve efficiencies for all.

I’ll be discussing SSRN’s view on researcher ID systems – how a paper submitted by an author, their academic institution, a co-author or another publisher could be linked across all digital platforms. The real benefit of ORCID is that we will easily be able to connect the dots and allow readers to see author’s full body of work, the big picture … all in one picture.