DOIs are used to identified papers, presentations, datasets, programs, figures, audio files, video files, amongst other things. ORCID iDs are used to identify researchers.

Why using ORCID iDs instead of DOIs to identify researchers?

  • 12
    Because people are not things.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 16:21
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    And how would you resolve such a DOI...?
    – user9646
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 17:19
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    @NajibIdrissi E.g. to any digital location the researcher wants to. (by the way I don't understand people downvoting before getting the answer to their question) Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 17:21
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    I didn't realize I was the same object as my webpage.
    – user9646
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 17:24
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    @NajibIdrissi The DOI of the researcher would point to some resource containing information about the researcher, just like the DOI of a paper would point to some resource containing information about the paper. I agree that in the case of a paper, the information is more complete that in the case of the researcher (ignoring paywall issues). Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


Because I would rather be an Orc than an Object. [/joke]

More seriously: from the horse's mouth

Our members will be aware that CrossRef has been exploring the possibility of creating an “author DOI” or “contributor ID” system. In doing so, it has become clear that the issues and use-cases involved in identifying researchers span a broad collection of stakeholders including libraries, institutions, funders, publishers and, of course researchers themselves. In short, this is not primarily “a publisher problem.” As such, we believe that the ORCID approach to creating an inclusive and open organization representing all the stakeholders in the scholarly communications process represents the best chance of creating a successful contributor identification system

The main problem with using DOI to identify authors is that the DOI model dishes out DOI identifiers through registration agencies, which usually charge some fee for the assignment. The use of registration agencies is fundamental to the design and operation of the DOI scheme. The main advantage of the ORCID scheme, as indicated above by CrossRef, one of the DOI registration agencies, is its openness and inclusiveness. Obtaining an ORCID is relatively simple.

As an aside: ORCID is a subset of the ISNI and is used for identification of researchers. For more general contributors to media, the ISNI is preferred.

  • 2
    Thanks, very interesting. My take away is that, following CrossRef's rationale, there is no strong technical issue, but mostly political ones (lack of openness of the DOI system, fee to create a DOI, absence of some key stakeholders). Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 18:53
  • 1
    There are technical issues here. ORCID offers an extensive set of APIs and metadata tailored to the use cases it serves (identifying people and their activities). Put simply, it's not a one size fits all world for these things, and identifiers are supplemented by specialist services and metadata. Crossref focuses on services/metadata around identifying papers while Datacite (another DOI registration agency) offers different metadata and services for the identification of (mainly) data.
    – tom
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 12:56

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