Connecting Research and Researchers

ORCID is improving accuracy in scholarship and scientific research, one 16-digit number at a time.

As the products of scientific research grow, becoming more complex, more international and ever more reliant on digital means of communication, it can be increasingly challenging to distinguish one researcher’s work from that of others with similar names, and to search and track what their contributions are.

ORCID is working to solve that name ambiguity problem in scholarly communications in a simple yet innovative way.

By providing researchers a unique digital identification number, ORCID enables registered researchers to connect to their work across time, disciplines and borders. The open-source system helps researchers and scholars distinguish their work from that of others, and makes that work easily searchable.

In just over three years, more than two million researchers have registered for an ORCID iD and begun associating those iDs with their published journal articles, datasets, manuscripts and other scholarly work.

Registration is easy and free of charge—allowing individuals to access the registry, data and software which enables secure collection of an individual’s ORCID iD.

The ORCID iD system was built to tackle a number of challenges the scientific research industry has long faced, including name ambiguity, outdated technology, limited avenues for collaboration between researchers and stiff competition among scientists to secure faculty positions and publication in top journals, all of which create barriers for discovery.

Seeking to lower the barrier to research discoveries, Helmsley’s Biomedical Research Infrastructure Program supports organizations like ORCID that develop unique solutions to these challenges.

Looking ahead, ORCID will be focusing on three priority areas in 2016: sustainability, leadership and organizational maturity.

“We started the year with a great boost from the publishing community, with publishers signing an open letter committing to require ORCID iDs,” says Laurel Haak, ORCID’s Executive Director. Among these signatures are many of the world’s leading scientific publishers including Science, EMBO and PLoS. The organization expects to see additional publishers and scientific institutions sign on in 2016 and beyond.

Funders are also starting to call for ORCID iDs to help streamline grant applications and reporting processes. These milestones have successfully raised awareness among researchers, and ORCID is quickly becoming a standard across all scientific research.

“Thanks to Helmsley’s generous support, we have been able to greatly expand the breadth and depth of our global reach,” Laurel says. That shift towards greater efficiency means stronger support to bring biomedical research one step closer to breakthrough discoveries in human health.

Register for your iD at

Watch this video produced by ORCID to learn more about the use of ORCID iDs.