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Friday
Feb122016

Publishing under a code id?

I have often wondered the impact of being a publishing researcher who has a common name. Confusion arises when scientists with identical names publish papers, especially if such scientists are part of the same field. How does one distinguish herself on a publication from another member of the scientific community with the same name? There should be a way to better identify authors that is not so dependent on recognition by names alone. In fact, such a way does exist, and it is called the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) system.

While submitting papers, I have observed how journals encourage authors to link themselves to their publications using ORCID codes. Though not necessary for all journal submissions, more and more journals are requiring authors to have a unique 16-digit identifying number created with ORCID. In a recent Science news article, John Bohannon points out that in the past, many researchers without issues of name ambiguity had not been motivated to sign up with ORCID. However, now there are close to two million ORCID users.

The article includes pieces from an interview with a CIT Pasadena neuroscience post-doc, Weizhe Hong, who shares some of the advantages of using ORCID. For instance, in addition to helping identify individuals from countries where people commonly have the same first and/or last names, ORCID numbers also help to preserve identification that may get lost when names are translated into the Roman alphabet (i.e., a name might be translated into multiple names with different spellings). Also, when a researcher becomes married and elects to change her surname, the identifying 16-digit number would still be linked to that person, regardless of the change in last name.

One of the only problems with ORCID is that any papers published prior to creating an ORCID code must be manually linked to the account by the author herself. Though perhaps bothersome, it is not the end of the world, especially since researchers already keep track of their publications. I think all researchers should sign-up with ORCID as soon as possible. Shouldn’t everyone have an accurate account of their publication record and receive the recognition for the work that they so rightfully deserve? 

-AB

Reference:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/01/journals-solve-john-smith-common-name-problem-requiring-author-ids

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