Presenting the Value of ORCID to Researchers

Researcher participation is key to unlocking the benefits of ORCID for both individuals and organizations, but as a relatively new technology, the value of ORCID is not always immediately understood by individual researchers who might initially think of ORCID as “yet another” thing they have to keep track of. In actuality, ORCID is not “yet another” thing, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Rather, ORCID can be used to replace outdated workflows like keeping a static word doc CV up to date and reporting affiliations and activities to different organizations by filling out forms over and over again in various systems.

Rather than adding another to-do to researchers’ lists, ORCID has the potential to replace existing, inefficient workflows and ultimately make everyone’s lives easier. 

ORCID’s role in the research and scholarly communication ecosystem is as an infrastructure provider, creating and maintaining the tools necessary to reliably and responsibly enable information about researchers, their contributions and affiliations, to flow seamlessly between the hundreds of integrated tools and platforms that are using ORCID iDs.  Researchers enable their data to be linked and reused by granting permission to their organizations to access, update, and share the information on their ORCID record.

Because data within an ORCID record is interoperable, once an ORCID record is populated, information can be transferred between ORCID-enabled systems at the click of a button, rather than asking researchers to manually retype their information in forms again and again.

If researchers do need an actual CV document, they can use the “public print view” option on their ORCID record (enabled by adding /print to the end of an ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1196-6279/print) to generate a PDF version of their record that is formatted like a CV and can be downloaded and printed, showing only the data they have set to “public” visibility. 

When presenting ORCID to researchers, consider the following talking points:

  1. ORCID iD = unique number that distinguishes you (looks like https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1196-6279) and links to:
  2. ORCID record = like a CV, but rather than a static document, the data within is interoperable with any systems that are ORCID-enabled
  3. You will always have full control over your own data throughout your career despite changes in name, institution, location, area of focus, etc. 
  4. Types of data that could be included in ORCID record (similar to a CV):
  5. As a researcher using ORCID:
    • You can have the organizations that you work with (like research institutions, publishers, and funders) write data to your ORCID record for you if their systems are ORCID-enabled
      • Benefits: save time, improve accuracy & metadata integrity, make sure you get credit for your contributions and affiliations
    • You can transfer data from your ORCID record to organizations that you work with by clicking a button rather than filling out forms over and over again
      • Benefits: save time & reduce administrative burden
  6. ORCID is not “just one more thing” that you have to do on top of everything else. Rather, it can be used to replace outdated workflows like keeping a static word doc CV up to date and filling out your information and activities in forms over and over again for different organizations and systems. If you do need a CV document, you can use the “public print view” option on your ORCID record to generate a PDF version of your record that is formatted like a CV. ORCID works like an ecosystem: the more people and organizations using ORCID, the more everyone benefits. If ORCID does not seem to be working for you, it’s likely because the organizations that you work with have not enabled their systems to work with ORCID. Please feel free to ask these organizations to adopt ORCID.
  7. To get started with ORCID, see the ORCID 101 for Individuals guide.

As a metaphor to help illustrate the value of ORCID for researchers, imagine the early days of the telephone back when only a few people were using them. Those early adopters could only benefit from their telephones if they were talking to other people who also had telephones. Even so, they could see the potential for improved communication and efficiency. Over time, people went from primarily writing letters and telegrams to primarily using the telephone, and now we all save time and benefit because of it. 

Similarly, we are still in the early days of ORCID, where not everyone is using it yet, it’s not yet built into all systems, and not every ORCID record is fully populated with data yet. Those using ORCID right now can only benefit to a certain extent because not all stakeholders are onboard yet. Envision a world where static word document CVs, like telegrams, are outdated in favor of ORCID as the new universal, interoperable CV. The potential is there for more accurate, verified, and efficient documentation, connection, and transfer of person-based information, affiliations, and contributions, but we need more adoption across the entire research and scholarly communication ecosystem in order for everyone to get the most benefit from ORCID. The more individuals and organizations/systems using ORCID, the more likely that ORCID can meet its potential. 

More information on presenting ORCID to researchers can be found in the ORCID US Community Outreach Planning Guide, the Value of ORCID for Individuals one-pager, and ORCID 101 for Individuals.

Thanks to Eric Olson and Julie Petro for collaborating on this post.