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. 

Get your Ringgold ID and GRID ID

A few methods for searching in ORCID are described below. To use these methods, you will need to know the Ringgold ID and GRID ID for your organization, as these are two organizational identifiers that can appear on ORCID records. ORCID will soon be using ROR ID as the primary organization identifier, but Ringgold and GRID will continue to be included. 

To get your organization’s Ringgold ID: You must get a guest account with Ringgold at https://www.ringgold.com/identify-online-guests/. You can also email orcidus@lyrasis.org and we can look up your Ringgold ID for you. Example: the Ringgold ID for Stanford University is “6429”. 

To get your organization’s GRID iD: Go to https://www.grid.ac/institutes and search for the name of your organization. Example: the GRID ID for Stanford University is “grid.168010.e”. 

Using “R” to Search ORCID

Thanks to Clarke Iakovakis at Oklahoma State University, anyone can use R to search the ORCID registry using the ORCID API to get refined results about current employees and/or students at an organization that have an ORCID iD (and thanks to Scott Chamberlain at rOpenSci for the rorcid package).

To use this method, you will need to have R Studio installed on your computer and you will need to have completed the steps listed in the “Setting up rorcid” section of Clarke’s rorcid tutorial. Then you can use the script that Clarke has shared, enabling a search for all current institutional affiliates via employment entries and education entries. Download the R script: 

You might want to take a look at the additional possibilities outlined in Clarke’s larger Rorcid tutorial

(Note: If your organization has a special scenario not covered by the generic script, or if you run into any problems or errors when running the script, contact orcidus@lyrasis.org for assistance.)

Using a URL Search Tool

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 provides results from all time, not just current affiliates. (Note: the graphical user interface only searches for Ringgold ID; use the instructions below to cast a wider search). 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:

  • Copy this URL, inputting your institution’s Ringgold ID, GRID ID, email domain, and organization name in the bolded sections: 
  • Enter the URL into your browser. The tool will immediately start to retrieve results. (Note: Firefox seems to work well. Chrome can tend to time out depending on how many results you have.)
  • 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 these tools are 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 tools are configured to search and retrieve public data in the ORCID registry containing the Ringgold ID, GRID ID, email domain, and institution name for each institution. Your institution’s Ringgold ID or GRID 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, and ORCID will be using ROR as the primary organization identifier in the future. 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 organization at large so you can search for those as well. 

Using Other Methods

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. This blog was updated in Feb. 2021 following another Community Call on using R to search ORCID (Feb. 16, 2021). As always, for any questions please contact orcidus@lyrasis.org.

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