Within the research and scholarly communication landscape, initiatives like ORCID are most beneficial to all parties involved when multiple stakeholders can work together to strategize for adoption and promotion of best practices. For universities participating in the ORCID US Community consortium, libraries have generally taken the lead in ORCID adoption efforts, which makes sense, because “Libraries are uniquely situated to play a central role in ensuring effective data management practices” at an institution, as pointed out by Chodacki et al. in a recent Association of Research Libraries (ARL) report, Implementing Effective Data Practices: Stakeholder Recommendations for Collaborative Research Support (p. 16). However, also noted by the report, institutions tend to get the most value from initiatives like ORCID when multiple campus stakeholders are involved in planning, integration, and outreach efforts, as opposed to the libraries working alone. 

This image illustrates some of the various stakeholders at a university that could benefit from being involved in ORCID adoption efforts, including the libraries, provost, graduate school, sponsored programs, human resources, central IT, the research office, and various academic units.

Common stakeholders for ORCID at a university include libraries, research offices, central IT, sponsored programs, graduate schools, human resources, provost offices, and various other academic units. But, getting all, or even some, of these units to allocate resources toward ORCID adoption can be challenging, depending on past and existing relationships and politics at an institution. Many institutions are siloed or decentralized, under-staffed and/or prone to frequent staff turnover, all of which can create barriers to internal communication and strategic collaboration. A recent OCLC Research Report by Bryant et al., Social Interoperability in Research Support: CrossCampus Partnerships and the University Research Enterprise, explores the many different barriers to cross-campus collaboration and makes suggestions for overcoming these challenges, using ORCID as an example.

There is no “magical elixir” solution on how to approach partnerships with internal stakeholders towards ORCID adoption, but we do have some advice, tips, and examples from ORCID US Community members that may be useful for those pursuing ORCID adoption locally:

  1. Build support within your own unit first: Form an “ORCID team” within the library, or within your own unit first, then reach out to other potential campus partners iteratively when and where it makes sense to slowly and steadily open the conversation; answer questions, explore options, and build support for ORCID API integrations and outreach initiatives. 
  1. Get other units on board: Start with one partner and build from there. A common initial partnership for ORCID that seems to work well is the library working together with the research office. 
  1. Build on existing relationships and strengthen a campus-wide effort: Create a cross-campus ORCID committee composed of individual representatives from multiple stakeholder units. For example, this approach has worked well for Florida State University.
  1. Communicate about ORCID to potential internal partners: 
    1. Identify pain-points for each potential partner: What processes or workflows might be improved by using ORCID iDs to identify people? Who could benefit from using the ORCID API to transfer data between ORCID and local systems? What incentive would each unit have to support ORCID adoption? For some initial ideas, see our ORCID talking points for various institutional units.
    2. Identify existing initiatives at your own institution that ORCID discussions could coincide with, like research/scholarly impact training, Open Access week, informational open houses, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, reforming promotion and tenure review processes, revamping public faculty profile pages, etc.
  1. Collaborate with other stakeholders in promoting ORCID to researchers: 
    1. When reaching out to researchers about ORCID, a coordinated approach to outreach can be helpful. You might consider requesting senior leadership to send messages to researchers promoting ORCID, as Boston College has done. In another example from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, from the image below, you can see that spikes in ORCID registration on campus corresponded with emails from deans instructing people to register for their ORCID iD: However, note that top-down approaches work in some contexts but not others, so it’s important to know your community.
    2. If you sense administrative distrust at your institution, you might want to steer away from top-down promotion and instead promote ORCID through a grassroots approach, meeting one-on-one with individuals or small groups (like academic departments), and letting interest in ORCID spread via word of mouth. 
    3. See if your faculty senate or research council will endorse ORCID, as Stanford University and California State University have done.
At University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, researcher ORCID iD registration spikes correspond with email reminders directly from deans and upper-level administrators encouraging researchers to get their ORCID iD. Image courtesy of Jane Scott at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Progress might be slow, but any movement toward increased adoption is a good thing. ORCID represents a paradigm shift from paper-based information workflows to more streamlined digital workflows that leverage interoperability of data between systems, allowing researchers and staff to ultimately save time and reduce administrative burden.

General talking points for presenting ORCID to internal stakeholders/potential partners:

  1. ORCID iD = unique number that distinguishes individual researchers (for example: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1196-6279) and links to a corresponding ORCID record
  2. ORCID record = contains information about researchers and their activities, similar to what you would see on a CV, but rather than a static document, the data within ORCID records is interoperable with any systems that are ORCID-enabled (using the ORCID API)
  3. Types of data that could be included in ORCID record:
    1. Biographical information
    2. Employment
    3. Education & Qualifications
    4. Memberships & Service
    5. Invited positions & Distinctions
    6. Funding
    7. Works
    8. Peer Review activity
    9. Research Resources
  1. Organizations can use ORCID to uniquely identify researchers, as well as:
    • Write data to affiliated researchers’ ORCID records
      • Benefits: saves time for researchers, ensures authoritative and consistent metadata about researchers and their activities in the wider research and scholarly communication ecosystem, confirms relationship between the organization and the researchers
    • Read data from researchers’ ORCID records, including data that has been added by other trusted organizations 
      • Benefits: streamlines collection of data about researchers and their activities for reporting and assessment, saves time and reduces administrative burden
  1. ORCID provides: an open, non-profit hub for identifying the relationships between individual researchers, organizations, activities, funding, resources, and research outcomes. By connecting this information via ORCID, we have the ability to better assess organizational impact across the global and local research and scholarly communication landscape. With real-time open access to interoperable ORCID data, we can start to rethink how we define, measure, and assess “impact” and how we give credit and recognition for contributions to scholarship, research, creativity, etc.
  2. To get the most benefit from ORCID: organizations need to use the ORCID API in local systems to allow for ORCID iD authentication, as well as reading and writing to all of the relevant fields contained within an ORCID record, and researchers need to have ORCID iDs and take the necessary steps to make sure their initial data is populated. ORCID works like an ecosystem: the more people and organizations using ORCID, the more everyone benefits. 

For more unit-specific ideas, see ORCID talking points for various institutional units. This blog article is based on an ORCID US Community call on the topic of Partnering with Internal Stakeholders for ORCID Adoption (Jan. 16, 2020).

Works cited:

Bryant, Rebecca, Annette Dortmund, and Brian Lavoie. 2020. Social Interoperability in Research Support: CrossCampus Partnerships and the University Research Enterprise. Dublin, OH: OCLC Research. https://doi.org/10.25333/wyrd-n586

Chodacki, John, Cynthia Hudson-Vitale, Natalie Meyers, Jennifer Muilenburg, Maria Praetzellis, Kacy Redd, Judy Ruttenberg, Katie Steen, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, and Maria Gould. Implementing Effective Data Practices: Stakeholder Recommendations for Collaborative Research Support. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, September 2020. https://doi.org/10.29242/report.effectivedatapractices2020