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108,122 John Smiths: What can your ORCID do for you?

The same person appears at three points in a kitchen.

A few years ago I received an invitation from Look North West to talk about local surfing in the Blackpool area. I had never been on a surfboard in my life (and still haven’t). A quick google later, I found that there was another Stuart Bentley well known for his surfing skills, and I realised I just happened to have a more guessable email address than he had.

Most of us share our name with at least one other person, and sometimes they may even work in the same field and same organisation. This is particularly an issue around authorship of research, where the wrong researcher could be mistakenly credited with another person’s work.

To help ease this issue of name disambiguation, the idea of a unique persistent identifier for researchers led to the establishment of the international ORCID registry. ORCIDs are long strings of characters used as identifiers linking an individual to the main registry meaning each one is connected to a specific researcher. As a result, having the identifier means you can immediately tell which of 108,122 John Smiths currently in the registry wrote a particular article.

You can register for an ORCID for free at We would recommend that you use a personal email address, instead of or as well as an institutional email address, as you take your ORCID with you throughout your career, and using a personal email address makes it easier to maintain access should you move to a new institution and forget your password.

An ORCID profile allows you to manage and share information about your career, including your publication history, employment history and education history. You can do this from within the profile, or in publisher and employer systems where those systems are connected to the registry by an API.

Many research information systems used by funders, publishers and institutions use ORCID APIs that will prefill forms automatically for you, or retrieve information to populate lists, saving time on tedious manual data entry tasks. This can also make funding applications easier.

Publishers will often feature ORCIDs as a clickable link on articles and book chapters, meaning that people can immediately follow it to see what else you’ve written, opening up your publication history with the potential to increase impact or open the door to future collaborations. Maintaining your employment history in ORCID means that people can contact you more easily, particularly if you move institutions after publishing an article.

ORCIDs are ubiquitous, and a key part of researchers’ toolkits. They ensure that you receive the credit for your achievements, rather than them being misidentified by that other person or people how share your name.  If you don’t have one already, sign up today.

Meanwhile, I’m off to hang ten!


Image Credit: Rizka Budiati Szkutnik (2007) "cloned linh" from Flickr. Shared under a CC BY 2.0 Licence.

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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