What is it?

In the olden days, libraries used to have author thesauri to differentiate between same name authors. These works were very much library-driven to make it easier to track different authors. With the advent of digital catalogues and databases, author indexes also became digitised and the controlled vocabulary became a mix of library-driven indexation and database provider-created indexes such as INSI. Yet with all the different databases out there, and the differing standards for them, mix-ups were easily created. In an effort to streamline this and create a single, independent author identifier index, we've seen a move from library and institute-driven differentiation with DAI and INSI via database publisher-driven initiatives such as Scopus Author ID, ResearcherID, and Google Scholar Citations to author-driven identification through ORCID.

The ORCID organisation is an international, non-profit organisation, who decided that a lasting, wide-accepted author identifier system would have to be created by a non-commercial, independent entity on the basis of open source principles and transparency. ORCID stands for Open Researcher & Contributor ID. It is run by a board composed of members drawn from universities, publishers, and funding organisations.

ORCID is freely available to every individual researcher, who can claim their ID, keep their information current and manage their record of activities, whether these activities are publishing a new article, making your data available on Figshare, or whether it is a presentation--ORCID supports over thirty different expressions of scholarly activity.

What can it do for me?

ORCID can provide you with a central place where you can collect all of your research activities, such as publication records, affiliations, presentations, and allowing you to link to other author identifiers and other online places you can be found, such as your institutional page, your personal website or blog, or profiles on social media sites. This will allow you to be easily identifiable and disambiguated from others with similar names or to take any spelling variations into account. Linking all of your DOI's to your ORCID ensures that people can always find the right you with all of the correct publications.

You can also use your ORCID to simplify the process of submitting a manuscript to certain publishers, who've incorporated this possibility, and with grant applications. You can use your ORCID to have it automatically import all of the relevant data into the submission form. Linking your ORCID to your ResearcherID, Scopus Author ID, and/or Impact Story account will allow these accounts to interchange information, keeping all of them up to date with one click.

Privacy issues?

ORCID has a solid Privacy Policy on their website and as far as I've been able to find there aren't any concerns beyond the usual caveats. In addition, ORCID provides a very granular level of privacy controls, allowing the user to display as much, or as little, as they want.

Pros & Cons


  • Independent organisation
  • Integration with other author identifiers and other services
  • Good privacy controls


  • Uptake and upkeep is dependent on authors themselves

Who in Leiden?

Prof. mr. dr. Willem van Boom (Law) 
Prof.dr. Willem van der Does (Psychology) 
Prof.dr. Gilles van Wezel (Molecular Biotechnology) 
Tracy Evans, MSc (Institute of Environmental Sciences) 
Dr.ir. Annemieke Petrignani (Leiden Observatory)