Monday, January 6, 2014

How many unique identities do I need?

I would appreciate some clarity and comments on the issue of "Researcher ID's".

A couple of years ago I made the mistake of signing up for "ResearchGate". This led to an incredible amount of spam in my email inbox.

Then my School was being reviewed and so all the staff had to sign up for "ResearcherID". This was quite some work because one had to "tag" all of your publications. Then I thought I was done...

Now I find that journals I publish in are asking for my ORCID.

I am reluctant to waste more time jumping through more hoops to create another "unique" identity.
But maybe this is the "special one", the author version of the DOI.

I am also getting tired/concerned/frustrated with all the metric focus.
I am also concerned how these initiatives seem to have a strong commercial element to them.
But, perhaps I just have to bite the bullet and do it.

I welcome comments and clarification.


  1. Up until today (and at least in the near future) I refuse to sign up for this nonsense. While I recognize the usefulness of a DOI for people, I do think my name and institution suffice for that.
    For all practical matters, this issue only comes up in cases where you have to submit your publication list anyway. And if I give you my publication list, it is fairly easy to see what I did by checking a few of those publications. Yes, there are other people with the same name (though luckily not with the same initials, yet), but the chances that one would be working in the same field, the same timeframe, and the same institution (which are all necessary conditions in order for confusion to arise in bean-counter's procedures) is very low. (I admit I ascribe fair mental capabilities to these bean counters...) And for the very low probability that there are cases where all three conditions are met (i.e. someone else published work with the same name, same affiliation and in a timeframe that I was at that institution), most likely the work will be outside of my scope. If not (even lower probability...) a simple communication solves the issue.

  2. The main difference is that ORCID is publisher-agnostic. ResearcherID is the one used to disambiguate articles in Thompson Reuter's Web of Science, while another one, Author ID, is used for the same purpose in Scopus. But you can't use your ResearcherID to identify articles in Scopus. As I understand it, each ID is tied to its own database of articles. ORCID doesn't have those restrictions.

    The other benefit is that you can identify publications that aren't found in those databases.