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I just noticed the following words from arXiv:

"You are encouraged to associate your ORCID with your arXiv account. ORCID iDs are standard, persistent identifiers for research authors. ORCID iDs will gradually supersede the role of the arXiv author identifier."

I thus wonder if a person's profile in ORCID is really that important, given that the person would like to pursue a career in academia?

  • The last quoted sentence requires a leap of faith: if arXiv authors don't start using ORCID en masse, the arXiv will not use it to replace their author ID system. – Kimball May 10 '15 at 15:20
  • @Jeromy Anglim: Thanks for the edits. It turns out that the "the" preceding "academia" is redundant. :) – Megadeth May 11 '15 at 4:38
  • Just FYI, in case you haven't seen, check my related question. – Aleksandr Blekh May 19 '15 at 9:12
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While I largely agree with Ian's answer (ORCID might matter in the future, but doesn't right now), I see one place where it may already matter and a reason why it should come to matter more in the future.

Right now, there is a strong implicit presumption of the uniqueness of a scientist's name, and all of the literature searches and citation databases, etc, of the world get rather confused when you have a person who either a) shares the same name as other practicing scientists or b) has a name that changes over time (e.g., marriage, gender identity change) or is represented differently (e.g., transliterated) in different papers.

On this site, we have a number of good, difficult questions dealing with the problems that name change and transliteration cause, which is particularly acute for academics in countries that don't use the Latin alphabet (e.g. this excellent question). These problems will grow in importance as the number of practicing scientists grows and becomes more diverse, and as the duration of the readily searchable literature grows as well.

In short: there is a rapidly growing need for something like ORCID that makes it easy to distinguish scientists without context-sensitive text mining. Whether ORCID is that thing, and how long it will take for it to be widely adopted and effective, are both open questions.

  • I wonder if we should consider using Researcher ID or Scopus ID? – Ooker May 10 '15 at 18:43
  • @Ooker, anything commercial just smells like multi-thousand-dollar subscription fees. You don't buy your own subscription to Nature, do you? May be you should consider that before suggesting these services. – StasK May 11 '15 at 14:16
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    @Ooker The creators of ResearcherID and Scopus are both launch partners of ORCiD and 100% behind it's adoption. orcid.org/about/community/launch-partners – tom Jun 23 '15 at 21:37
13

My personal opinion is that right now ORCID has pretty much zero traction in academia: when my university partnered with ORCID and pushed uptake quite hard internally (by its standards, at least) I was the only person in my department who'd even heard of it (whilst nearly all knew of, and used, the arXiv).

I think it likely that ORCID take up will increase, but in the short term it's of no importance at all.

Update: Here is a JISC report on the trial implementation of ORCID at a number of UK HEIs, including my own. It lists a number of benefits (the key ones covered in @jakebeal 's answer), but more importantly illustrates the high level (research council etc) support for ORCID. With my sceptical hat on I will note that I couldn't find numbers as to how many new ORCID IDs were generated by this pilot.

  • 16
    Please remember that such trends can be heavily field-dependent. I'm a geoscientist. Picking five of my recent co-authors at random, I just searched for them on ORCID and found that they all have IDs there. Conversely, I have never in my life used ArXiV, nor heard of any colleague doing so, as far as I can recall. Your observation clearly shows that ORCID uptake is far from universal, but I'd be wary of extrapolating it as broadly as "zero traction in academia" overall. – Pont May 10 '15 at 18:19
  • @Ian I just don't like the fact that ORCID sounds like a deliberate way to monitor someone, just one more thing to keep track of what you do and when you do it. It requires way too many information to sign up. – Herman Toothrot May 19 '15 at 9:41
  • FYI JISC have just signed a national consortium ORCiD deal for the whole of the UK. Italy have done the same. It's of huge importance. – tom Jun 23 '15 at 21:38
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    @user4050: I understand and second privacy-related concerns in general, but I have yet to encounter a researcher who perceives it as a bad thing that their publication activities can be monitored. – O. R. Mapper May 19 '16 at 11:57
8

Let me count how many academic IDs I have:

  1. Google Scholar
  2. ORCID
  3. ResearchGate
  4. RePEc
  5. ResearcherID
  6. Microsoft Academic Research
  7. Scopus ID

They never agree on the counts of my citations, of course, or even on the number of published works, even though some of them cross-link to one another.

Google, Scopus and Microsoft are, of course, automatic. ORCID, ResearchGate, RePEc, ResearcherID require registration. I don't have arXiv ID; I've never been able to extract value from that service, and at the time I bothered about these IDs, it was purely mathematical, which did not quite ignite me, and it failed to compile my LaTeX code because I had graphs in my papers that exceeded the then-existing file size limits (something like 1 or 2Mb in early to mid 2000s?). I am sure I am missing another five or so academic ID services. I remember starting some of them, but never being able to populate them properly, because they said something like: "Oh, just push this button, and we'll search ISI WebOfKnowledge for you" -- guess what, they don't do it on their end, they do it on your browser, so you need to have access to ISI for that stuff to work.

Does missing any one of these services matter? This is probably discipline-specific; I would venture a guess that nobody in this thread heard of RePEc (REsearch Papers in EConomics)... but if you talked to economists, they probably would not have heard of ORCID in return. Given that you are coming from arXiv, you are probably a mathematician or a physicist, and arXiv is probably the default for these disciplines, with little to no need for other IDs. That is to say, if you only care about becoming a famous physicist through publications, stick with arXiv ID; if you want to be a good citizen of academia, so that other academics sort of recognize you when you step out of the door of your home department, or if you reasonably expect to collaborate with other disciplines, ORCID will probably help.

Coming back to the OP question, my specific suggestion would be to check what people put on top of their CVs in your discipline/in the departments where you are looking for a job. If it is an ORCID, you need to get one. If it is an arXiv ID, you need to get one. If it is a picture of their chihuahua, you... well, you get the drift. (My scanning of CVs in a discipline that has a sort of dual identity, sociology, when I was interviewed by a sociology department years ago, revealed that some of the faculty think of themselves as scholars, and list their published works under Scholarship, with these works being books or chapters in books, with few to no papers -- these would be doing sociology theory or some social forces or stuff like that; while others would refer to themselves as researchers, and list their published works as Research, which would consist, for the most part, of journal papers, which would be more likely to use quantitative methods. I don't know much about sociology, but I imagine there are internal tensions between these groups, with one not understanding the approaches and achievements of the other.)

  • I upvoted your answer, since the described experience with some of those services matches my light use. However, I find your suggestion on checking researcher IDs in other people's CVs quite strange, to say the least - I even thought at first that it's a joke. What is the rationale for this suggestion? – Aleksandr Blekh May 19 '15 at 9:21
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    A piece of advice I received when starting a tenure-track job was to talk to people who were recently tenured to see what they did. This is a similar advice: look at people who are successful in the field to imitate. Looking back, the advice I should have been given is to talk to people who were kicked out of the tenure track -- you learn more for mistakes than success stories. You learn quite a bit about your discipline from the CVs of people practicing it, and you learn a lot about what is being valued from what people put on the top to reflect their highest priorities. So no it's not a joke – StasK May 19 '15 at 16:30
  • Thank you for clarification. My impression was distorted by you mentioning only focus on researcher IDs, which I don't find useful. The more general advice, as described in your comment above, makes total sense to me and I do that all the time (I refer to it as CV analysis). Of course, you can only learn so much from CVs, so academic career blog posts and similar resources are complementary useful. – Aleksandr Blekh May 19 '15 at 22:40

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