Research unique identifier e.g. ORCID Research unique identifier e.g. ORCID

A much discussed but as yet unresolved issue in journal publications is the unique identification of an individual with his/her work.  For example, researchers may share the same name, even within the same institution, or some may have published articles under different formats eg Rachel A Henderson, R Henderson.

This matters both when collecting information for research statistics, but more importantly to collect work together since the web has enabled easier scholarly communication.

ORCID has been set up to be a vendor-neutral global system for researcher identifiers.  It is supported by some of the main global publishers, and membership for individual researchers is currently free.

The 2 main bibliographic databases subscribed to at UEA have methods for researchers to be identified uniquely (both of which have now been linked with ORCID).

Web of Science

Thomson Reuters have created the ResearcherID database.  Around 270,000 researchers worldwide have registered so far.  


Elsevier have incorporated an algorithm into the Scopus database which tries to match authors and articles, and reports a 90% success rate.  There are errors however, and authors are encouraged to use the feedback option to notify Elsevier of these.  There are feedback buttons on for example the Author Details and Make Author Selection pages. 

For more discussion on identifier issues, see for example I am not a scientist, I am a number which also mentions the OpenID concept of a unique web identifier for your whole web presence (blogs, social networking etc.)