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This observation was written by Kimberly Silk.

At a glance

Publication date 2012
Keywords open science; scholarly communication; research output; unique identifiers;

ORCID is a non-profit organization which provides a persistent identifier that distinguishes individual researchers within the global research ecosystem. Researchers register for a free, unique ORCID identifier through the web site, and then add their professional information; publications can be added manually, or automatically harvested from other systems such as Scopus, ResearcherID and LinkedIn.

ORCID identifiers benefit researchers in multiple ways:

1) by ensuring that researchers are uniquely identified and connected to their contributions and affiliations;

2) by reducing the administrative burden associated with submitting publications, applying for grants and other research workflows;

3) giving researchers control over what and how much information to share publicly, or with their institutions.

At the time of this writing, there are over 4.4 million active ORCID iDs representing researchers across disciplines and from all over the world. In a recent blog post, Andrew Dunning, a researcher and sessional lecturer at the University of Toronto, describes the advantages of using ORCID from a researcher’s point of view:

“With ORCID, you can harness the public records about your research. It allows you to link all this data together in a handy page about yourself that you can then share publicly with others or keep to yourself. Trusted organizations can also integrate with ORCID, and you can choose to share the information on your record with them. I use my iD as an online master list of all my publications: it’s the perfect link to give anyone who wants to read what I’ve done recently, introduce me at a conference, or consider me for a new position.”

ORCID is sustained by fees from ORCID member organizations consisting of research organizations, publishers, funders, professional associations, and other stakeholders in the research ecosystem. At the time of writing, ORCID is supported by 840 organizational members, including 17 consortia members; consortia members represent communities of practice at the regional and national level. Australia, Canada, Norway, Italy, Finland, Belgium, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Taiwan are all consortia members of ORCID.

ORCID-CA, the ORCID consortia in Canada, was created in 2017 by a working group of Canadian stakeholders who are all deeply committed to supporting research, scholarship, and innovation in Canada. The Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) manages the ORCID license and houses the ORCID-CA Member Support Specialist who provides front-line support and serves as the primary contact for members in both official languages. To date, ORCID-CA has 31 members representing universities and research organizations across Canada.

For universities, using ORCID improves data quality for reporting research output for institutional management purposes, enhances an institution’s research profile through improved visibility and discoverability of research outputs, and has a time and cost benefit by reducing manual data entry.

For funders, integrating ORCID into their research application workflows facilitates reporting on research networks and researcher outputs, outcomes and impact of the research that has been funded, and provides greater transparency about the funded research and associated outputs, which can improve information on global research and development resource flows, which is vital for funding agency gap analysis and strategy. Several funding system platforms have integrated ORCID, facilitating the adoption of ORCID by research funders. Beginning in 2014, several funders began to mandate researcher applicants to include their ORCID iDs; at the time of writing, funders who require the use of ORCID include Wellcome Trust (UK), National Institute for Health Research (UK), Department of Transportation (US), and the Swedish Research Council. While funders in Canada have not mandated researchers to use their ORCID iDs in research grants, some are considering using unique digital identifiers, such as ORCID iDs, in the application process.

ORCID strengthens scholarship and policy development in Canada by providing an efficient method of monitoring the health and performance of the national research system, leading to better understanding of the national system and more informed policies. ORCID adoption also enhances the nation’s research profile through improved visibility and discoverability of research outputs and impacts, creating greater opportunities for international collaboration and access to Canadian research.


Canadian Research Knowledge Network. 2017. “ORCID-CA, the ORCID Consortium in Canada, to Provide Canadian Institutions and Organizations the Opportunity to Obtain Premium Membership to ORCID.” Canadian Research Knowledge Network. May 2017.

Haak, Laure. 2015. “Research Funders and ORCID: New Members, Mandates, and Platforms.” Text. December 2, 2015.

ORCID-CA Consortium. 2017a. “About ORCID-CA.” ORCID-CA Consortium. May 2017.

———. 2017b. “ORCID-CA Benefits.” ORCID-CA. May 2017.

———. 2017c. “ORCID-CA Statement of Principles.” ORCID-CA Consortium.

Paglione, Laura. 2012. “About ORCID.” Text. August 17, 2012.