United States Department of Energy

Energy Link System (E-Link)

DOE STI Management System


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About the addition of ORCID numbers to E-Link

ORCID is the acronym for both an organization (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) and the identifying number that it provides to authors. ORCID, Inc. formed in 2010 and officially launched, following beta testing with early adopters, in 2012. The Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) became an ORCID member in May of 2013.

ORCID's mission statement says:

ORCID aims to solve the name ambiguity problem in research and scholarly communications by creating a central registry of unique identifiers for individual researchers and an open and transparent linking mechanism between ORCID and other current researcher ID schemes. These identifiers, and the relationships among them, can be linked to the researcher's output to enhance the scientific discovery process and to improve the efficiency of research funding and collaboration within the research community.

Simply put, an ORCID number for an author is somewhat like a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for a journal article or a dataset:

  • It serves as a way to uniquely distinguish one object from another - in this case, the objects are author/researcher names.
  • The ID number can be "resolved" [i.e. matched up to a name and bio] by the ORCID Registry, a central database of all the ID numbers ever assigned. Conversely, a personal name can be searched in the Registry if a user desires to know if an author has an ORCID. If the author does have one, the ORCID Registry will provide the number back to the inquiring user.
  • The ORCID number can be included when creative or scientific words are cited in published literature or databases. A long-term goal is that an Internet search on the ID number would infallibly retrieve all of that particular author's other works and none of anyone else's...even if another author's name happened to be exactly the same.

An author wishing to obtain an ORCID can simply visit the ORCID website and apply. After answering basic questions, the author/researcher is then assigned a unique ORCID number. The process is free and fast. The ORCID number is 16 digits with a hyphen between each set of four numbers. An example is 0000-0002-2235-1499. Note that there are no spaces in the character string.

OSTI has modified the E-Link processing system and Announcement Notices (AN) to allow DOE sites to include researchers' ORCIDs in their submitted records. The ORCID number will become part of the author information available to users for search and retrieval in DOE databases such as SciTech Connect. The number will also travel with the author's name to products managed by OSTI such as Science.gov, World Wide Science.org, and the ETDEWEB.

If you are a grantee, you may include your ORCID number as you fill out AN 241.3. The author section of the Announcement Notice asks for your last name, your first name, and your middle name or initial. Then, add your email address, your ORCID number, and your affiliation in the remaining author fields. If the ORCID number you enter is not in the correct format (0000-0000-0000-0000), the Announcement Notice will not allow you to use the "Submit" button. You will receive an error message instead so that you can re-enter the number correctly.

If you are a DOE employee or contractor at a DOE site or Office, you should ensure that your ORCID number is given to the STI Manager or Technical Information Officer for your organization. He or she will put it into the site database that provides records to OSTI. That will allow your site to include your ORCID number whenever it submits to OSTI any scientific and technical information which you have authored or co-authored.

For questions about ORCID numbers and how they are handled at OSTI, you may call Jannean Elliott at 865-576-6784 (elliottj@osti.gov).

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