Pennsylvania State University became an ORCID member in 2014, and have since used all five of their ORCID member API credentials in various systems across campus. This blog post is based on a presentation by Dan Coughlin, Head of Strategic Technologies for Penn State University Libraries, at the ORCID US Community Showcase Webinar #5 on June 4, 2020. Many thanks to Dan for sharing his experience!

Identity Management Stakeholders

Since 2008, Penn State has recognized the value in identity management and identity services, investing in single sign-on, federated identities through Shibboleth, and other initiatives that have served to benefit faculty and students within the realm of campus identity, including ORCID iDs. Penn State’s campus IT advocated for ORCID adoption on campus, because it provides the same kinds of services for faculty off-campus that they are used to within the Penn State environment. While it is easy to navigate identity on-campus, once researchers apply for funding through institutions such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), they are no longer in Penn State jurisdiction, so ORCID serves as an identifier that works both beyond and within the university. 

For faculty who are publishing, there is always a need for disambiguation around name changes, standardization across citation formats, and persistent identifiers to link research outputs (DOIs) and contributors (ORCID iDs). For example, the Penn State Libraries recently purchased a data set of all open access (OA) publications by Penn State faculty, to determine OA contributions on campus. However, accurately identifying which authors in multiple-author publications were Penn State faculty, which authors had changed their names, and which authors were at Penn State when the research was published, was incredibly difficult based on names alone, without an ORCID iD for each author. 

The libraries have worked closely with several internal stakeholders to integrate the ORCID API and encourage ORCID iD adoption and usage on campus. Penn State IT typically works very closely with the library, and they have been the most important partner for technical implementation, ensuring that researchers’ ORCID iDs can be connected with their Penn State IDs through a centralized ORCID API integration with Penn State’s central identity management database.

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Research is another important stakeholder: they share a desire with the libraries of integrating ORCID with external systems, such as grant funding portals, or assisting with reporting on research output, and they have done a lot of work on ORCID outreach and education for researchers. The libraries have also worked to a lesser extent with the graduate schools. Many international graduate students are invested in ORCID for name disambiguation purposes; while the libraries are happy to gain support from this area of the university, they have left the majority of ORCID advocacy for grad students to the graduate schools. 

Penn State ORCID API Integrations

Penn State has implemented five ORCID API integrations, including:

  1. Penn State Identities: Custom ORCID “Create & Connect” application that allows researchers to link their ORCID iD to their Penn State ID in their central identity management system, managed by Campus IT. Researchers are prompted to link the two IDs together through the ORCID API OAuth (authorization) process, and Penn State stores the ORCID iDs along with local IDs in a central database. 
Through a custom-built ORCID API integration, researchers can connect their ORCID iD with their Penn State ID for more consistent identity management both on and off campus.
  1. Digital Measures: Vendor faculty activity reporting system, used for review and promotion and tenure workflows, with built-in ORCID integration that allows researchers to link their ORCID iD to their Digital Measures profile and import publication information from their ORCID record into Digital Measures.
Digital Measures provides a built-in ORCID integration that can be used by ORCID member organizations. Documentation for ORCID & Digital Measures: 
  1. Pure: Vendor research information system, used for faculty directory and profiles, as well an experts database to promote faculty, with built-in ORCID integration that allows researchers to link their ORCID iD to their Pure profile, import information from their ORCID record into Pure, and export data from Pure to their ORCID record (including employment information, works, and other identifiers)
Pure provides a built-in ORCID integration that can be used by ORCID member organizations. Documentation for ORCID & Pure:  
  1. Editorial Manager: Penn State University Press uses Editorial Manager for their 80 journals, a vendor publishing system with built-in ORCID integration that allows authors to log in with ORCID and link their ORCID iD with their publications, as well as receive reviewer recognition on their ORCID record. The Press encourages users to create an ORCID iD if they don’t already have one and link their iD with relevant journals, which are all set up for reviewer recognition of completed reviews. In the case of multiple author teams, the corresponding author may also collect their co-author ORCID information at the time of submitting their work.
An example of the ORCID presence on one of Penn State University Press’ many journals, ab-Original: Journal of Indigenous Studies and First Nations and First Peoples’ Cultures, highlights the ORCID integration with the Editorial Manager platform: 
  1. Researcher Metadata Database: Custom ORCID integration with the libraries’ metadata database, which primarily serves as a citation index, and contains faculty profile information. Not only does the database import information from many different internal and external systems, such as Web of Science, Pure, and Digital Measures, it also supports Penn State’s Open Access (OA) policy, using DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) on research outputs to query Open Access Button to see what Penn State research is currently available in OA repositories. Researchers who have works published after July 1, 2020 that are not open available are asked to upload a copy to Penn State’s institutional repository.

Through the Researcher Metadata Database, Penn State researchers can “create and connect” their ORCID iD with their Profile Bio:

Penn State researchers can connect their ORCID iD with the Penn State Researcher Metadata Database.

Once the initial connection has been made, researchers can choose to export their information from the Researcher Metadata Database to their ORCID record, such as publications and their employment affiliation with Penn State:

The “Add to my ORCID Record” button prompts users to send their information to their ORCID record on demand, rather than having to re-type their information manually into ORCID.

When researchers choose to have their information exported to their ORCID record, it appears with “Penn State University” as the authoritative “source”:

An employment affiliation has been added to a researcher’s ORCID record by Penn State University, via the ORCID member API.

ORCID Outreach to Researchers

While hundreds of Penn State researchers have already integrated their ORCID accounts within the Penn State system, more outreach and education will be needed to encourage as many researchers as possible to leverage the ORCID integrations available at Penn State. By making these various integrations available, Penn State can more easily demonstrate the usefulness of ORCID for researchers through tangible benefits, such as being able to transfer data easily between ORCID and other systems without manual re-typing. 

Embarking on an ORCID outreach and awareness campaign, the Penn State team is planning to prioritize the benefits of one clear ORCID use case at a time in order to gain traction with ORCID usage both on campus and with external systems. For example, in addition to the benefits of the various local campus systems’ ORCID connections described above, any researchers applying for grants from the NIH or NSF will be asked to submit a biographical sketch that meets certain requirements, which they can create using a tool called SciENcv. SciENcv is integrated with ORCID, so as long as a researcher has all of their information populated in their ORCID record, they can simply transfer their information from their ORCID record into SciENcv by clicking a button, rather than manually entering their information every time they need to use SciENcv. But, researchers can only benefit from these connections if they are aware that they can use their ORCID record with various systems in this way. So, outreach activities are important to build awareness and get the most value from ORCID at an organization.

If you have questions about the Penn State ORCID case study, please contact