Finding ORCID Holders at Your Institution

One of the most frequently asked questions from ORCID US Community institution representatives is: “How can I find out who at my institution has an ORCID iD?” This can be a tricky question for three primary reasons:

  • ORCID iDs are controlled by the individual, not by an institution
  • Individuals tend to move from one institution to another over time
  • Some researchers might have an ORCID iD, but if there is no data, limited data, or non-public data populated in their ORCID record, it will be difficult to tell who they are and they may not show up in a search

The best, most trustworthy way to find ORCID holders at your institution would be to configure your institutional system(s) to work with the ORCID application programming interface (API) and have your current researchers connect their authenticated ORCID iD with your system via the ORCID OAuth process. Once your researchers have connected their ORCID iDs with your system(s) you will not only know who has an ORCID iD at your institution, but you will also be able to interact with their ORCID record as a trusted party, based on how your API integration is configured. (See the ORCID US Community ORCID API Basics one-pager for more info.)

However, if you do not yet have ORCID-enabled systems and you want to get a general picture of ORCID adoption for marketing, assessment, or planning purposes, there are a few different ways that you can search the ORCID registry to try to find researchers that are affiliated with your institution. Keep in mind that search results will only be as good as the data that is populated within an ORCID record. For example, if you want to search for individuals that have your institution name in their ORCID records, if that data is not populated in an individual’s ORCID record, that person will not show up in your search results. 

ORCID US Community member institutions can use a lightweight tool at http://search.orcid-us.org, designed to help provide a general idea of ORCID adoption and locate individuals affiliated with your institution that already have an ORCID iD. This tool was designed by collaborators at Jisc on an experimental basis, and the code is openly available and re-usable at https://github.com/lyrasis/orcid-node, with the original code from Jisc at https://github.com/ostephens/orcid-node.

To use the search tool:

  • Go to http://search.orcid-us.org/ 
  • Select your institution from the dropdown menu
  • Click “Get ORCIDs”
  • Wait several minutes for the results to load. Timing can vary depending on how many results there are.
  • Once all of the results are loaded, you will see buttons appear at the top of the screen for exporting results to a CSV or other file format

It is important to note that data retrieved from this tool is to be used for assessment and planning purposes only. Do not use this information to load ORCID iDs into your systems – that should be done using the ORCID API and Authentication process. The search tool is configured to search and retrieve public data in the ORCID registry containing the Ringgold ID for each institution. Your institution’s Ringgold ID will automatically appear on individuals’ ORCID records if they have added your institution to their ORCID record by selecting the institution name from the dropdown menu that appears upon typing in an affiliation entry in the employment, education & qualifications, invited positions & distinctions, or memberships & service sections of the ORCID record. More information about this can be found in ORCID’s documentation on adding employment info to your ORCID record or adding education to your ORCID record.

Currently organizations can be identified three different ways in ORCID: Ringgold ID, GRID ID, and FundRef. Information about those three identifiers can be found at: https://members.orcid.org/api/resources/orgids-in-orcid. It is up to each institution which identifier you would prefer your researchers to use. Keep in mind that the newest organizational identifier, ROR (Research Organization Registry) will map to GRID ID. You can always contact Ringgold and contact GRID to get a full list of the various units on campus that have their own individual identifiers separate from the campus at large so you can search for those as well. If there is a preferred identifier that you would like your researchers to use, contact orcidus@lyrasis.org and ORCID can set that preference so that it appears first in the dropdown when a user enters their institutional affiliations in their ORCID record.

You can also search for any of these identifiers, or search based on institution name or keyword, by using the command line script that is available at https://github.com/ORCID/orcid-search. ORCID US Community members can request this script to be run on their behalf by emailing orcidus@lyrasis.org. The script will search for public data and will output a CSV file with the ORCID iDs and corresponding names that have the search term publicly visible on the ORCID record.

Additionally, ORCID releases a public data file each year, which can be downloaded and searched, and used in a number of ways as described in ORCID’s Public Data File Use Policy. ORCID also provides documentation for how to do searches that can be run in the command line, as well as documentation on Finding ORCID Record Holders at Your Institution. If you don’t yet have your own custom ORCID API integration, you can use Google OAuth Playground, a free online tool that can be used to interact with the ORCID API, following the steps below, to run some basic queries. You do not have to be a developer to use this tool.

To run searches in Google OAuth Playground:

  1. Go to ORCID’s documentation on Finding ORCID Record Holders at Your Institution – scroll through the types of searches that you can do to find ORCID holders at your institution. Note that although searching by email domain is an option, you will not likely receive many results because in ORCID emails are private by default, so very little email data is available to the public or trusted parties.
  2. Go to the Google OAuth Playground
    1. Click on “Step 3”
    2. To get public data, you only have to worry about the “Request URI” field.
  3. Go back to Finding ORCID Record Holders at Your Institution and locate the type of search that you want to do, such as searching by institution name or Ringgold ID. Select and copy the URI provided in the example for the type of search you have selected.
  4. Click back over to the Google OAuth Playground and paste the URI into the “Request URI” field. 
    1. Be sure to alter the URI to reflect the variable that you are searching for. For example, if I wanted to find researchers at the University of Oregon, I would change the example URI as follows:
      1. https://pub.orcid.org/v2.1/search/?q=affiliation-org-name:”University+of+Johannesburg
      2. https://pub.orcid.org/v2.1/search/?q=affiliation-org-name:”University+of+Oregon
    2. Click “Send the Request” 
  5. You will see results appear in XML on the right side of the Google OAuth Playground screen. In the results section, scroll down past the header and you will see something that looks like this: <search:search num-found=”1310″
    1. The number listed in quotes is the number of ORCID iDs that were found matching your query. You will see all of the ORCID iDs listed in XML. If you have a programmer on hand, you can use the command line to run queries and write a script to subsequently gather additional information for each ORCID iD listed in the results – see Basic Tutorial: Read Data on an ORCID Record.

To explore more about how the ORCID API works, consider following ORCID’s tutorial on Exploring the ORCID API using Google OAuth Playground.

This blog is based on an ORCID US Community call that took place on October 30, 2019; see call notes and Q&A for more details. As always, for any questions please contact orcidus@lyrasis.org.