WIKIMEDIA, VAGLAName ambiguity may soon be a thing of the past, at least among members of the scientific community. Several major journal publishers and scientific societies have pledged to require submitting authors to sign up for an Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID iD) number and use that number as a unique identifier. A variety of publishers—including PLOS, AAAS, IEEE, EMBO Press, eLife, The Royal Society, and the American Geophysical Union—promised to start requiring authors to provide an ORCID iD over the next year, in an open letter released today (January 7). “We encourage other publishers to join us in this initiative,” the letter read. “We hope that our action inspires the community, including researchers, research funders, and research institutions, to join us in adopting ORCID and making it easy for researchers to connect their iD to their contributions and affiliations.”
The move may help people more easily find the work and profiles of researchers with common surnames, such as Smith, Jones, Wang, or Nguyen. The Royal Society mandated the use of ORCID iDs starting this month (January 1); the other publishers will phase in the requirement throughout the year. “Publishers get together often, and we are constantly discussing how the system is evolving,” Stuart Taylor, publishing director of The Royal Society, told The Scholarly Kitchen. “I was speaking to a few like-minded publishers at a meeting on open science in Washington, and we soon realized that we could achieve more in terms of driving ORCID adoption if we worked together.”
Another publisher, Springer Nature, said it would continue to “encourage—but not require—ORCID IDs from authors of papers published in their 3000 journals,” according to ScienceInsider.