Identifying uniquely a researcher as author of a publication is important. There is a commercial effort to create researcher ID for every researcher. It is not likely to succeed if it is not multiple publisher effort. Something like DOI and CrossRef.

Is there truly non-commercial alternative emerging?

3 Answers 3


ORCID is supposed to take care of that and it seems to gain significant traction. According to this presentation, it should be launched in fall this year (2012). However, I am not sure whether it falls under your definition of "non-commercial".

I am myself very curious about it, my hopes are that finally it will take care of disambiguation of names like "John Smith" - for me e.g., Web of Science database is practically unusable as it shows several thousands of papers for my name :-|.

  • 1
    Curiously, I checked it yesterday a few hours before this question appeared. Their business model looks good to me: 1) non-for-profit organization owns the data 2) privacy settings available to the researcher 3) everyone gets to query individual data online 4) paid sponsors get bulk access via an API 5) all code is open source. Aug 25, 2012 at 6:10
  • How does ORCID compare to ResearcherID?
    – bobthejoe
    Nov 21, 2012 at 20:08
  • 1
    @bobthejoe: Thomson Reuters (the company behind ResearcherID) is a part of the consortium behind ORCID. They provide even integration with ResearcherID, as well as Scopus does. See also about.orcid.org/faq-page#n81.
    – walkmanyi
    Nov 21, 2012 at 20:39
  • By the way, ORCID is not non-commercial. For instance, they sell API data access for $5000 and up. May 19, 2016 at 8:27
  • @FedericoPoloni that's the fee for membership of the consortium, which comes with API access. I'm not sure I'd class it as "commercial" as a result. May 19, 2016 at 12:25

For those of us in particle physics and related fields inSPIRE's HepNames1 service assigns a unique ID to each researcher (though they are rarely used outside of the database) and keeps track of their professional history, publications, citations and so on. My inSPIRE record is not really that inspiring, but there it is.

1 The successor project to the original SPIRES; inSPIRE also supports a rich search operation across affiliations, publications, names, and other data.


Wikidata seems to build up a system where researchers who write articles that are citable by Wikipedia get unique IDs.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .