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Free for Everyone, Always: The ORCID Public API and Data File
As part of our commitment to openness, we have a public API that is available for community use, and we also release an annual snapshot of publicly available data in the ORCID Registry. We’re always excited to learn about interesting ways these tools are being used by the community! Here are some that we know about; we’d love to learn about others! If you’re using the public API rather than the member one, please remember to still follow our best practices for authenticating and displaying iDs - this helps build a trusted PID infrastructure for everyone’s benefit!
As you may know, ORCID was one of the partners in this EU-funded project, which aimed to “establish seamless integration between articles, data, and researchers across the research lifecycle.” One of the outputs of this project was a Study of ORCID Adoption Across Disciplines and Locations, based on the 2016 ORCID public data file. Among the study’s key findings were:
There’s a higher representation of ORCID iDs in the natural, health and applied sciences than in arts, humanities, economic and social sciences
However, the proportion of humanists with ORCID iDs is disproportionately high compared with the number of researchers in this field overall (9.6% versus 4.1%)
The proportion of humanities users doubled between 2012-16 from 4.1% to 9.6%, but the number of works connected to their records only grew by about 50% during that period, from 3.8% to 5.5%
There are far more ORCID iD holders in Europe than in any other region
We’ll be updating this analysis as part of our Academia and Beyond project in 2019 - more on that soon!
OpenCitations is a scholarly infrastructure organization, directed by David Shotton and Silvio Peroni, which is dedicated to open scholarship and the publication of open bibliographic and citation data using Semantic Web (Linked Data) technologies. The organization is also engaged in advocacy for semantic publishing and open citations. One of its main outputs is the OpenCitations Corpus (OCC), an open database of downloadable bibliographic and citation data that conforms to the OpenCitations Data Model. It has been created and continuously expanded using a set of scripts, available in the OpenCitations GitHub repository, which gather metadata from external services -- including the ORCID Public API -- that describe both the citing and the cited articles involved in a citation. OCC routinely uses the ORCID Public API to try to retrieve ORCID iDs for all authors and editors named in the Crossref metadata for a given DOI. OpenCitations has also recently released BCite (sources available on GitHub), a web application that enables users such as journal editors to obtain 'clean' verified and enriched bibliographic reference text strings, for inclusion in the reference list of the citing article they have in hand. This ensures that accurate rather than erroneous references can be published in the version of record; the references are transformed into RDF data compliant with the OpenCitation Data Model, including ORCID iDs where available.
Cobaltmetrics is an altmetrics provider, powered by a knowledge graph that contains billions of identifiers linked by billions of properties. Many different sources are combined to build the graph, mostly in the form of linked metadata shared by publishers, trusted repositories, and identifier registries (see their documentation on URI transmutation). They aim to make privacy and web-scale data mining compatible by using ORCID identifiers as the main contributor identifiers in Cobaltmetrics, and (as of October 2018) have added a total of 4,725,354 identifiers to the knowledge graph using our Public Data File. Cobaltmetrics is now working on contributor-level altmetrics aggregation, with the goal of showcasing what they know about any contributor from all the sources that they monitor. In future, if there’s interest from the community, they will consider a deeper integration with ORCID’s API to pull fresh data into their knowledge graph as often as possible. For more information, please see this Cobaltmetrics blog post.
Science article on migratory scientists
Science magazine journalist, John Bohannon, received the prestigious National Academics communication award for his analysis of scientists’ migration patterns using the ORCID public data file. Among his findings:
About one third of scientists who earned their PhD in the UK subsequently moved away, compared with only 15% of scientists in other EU countries
The annual influx of scientists to the US stagnated for several years after 2001 - possibly because of the World Trade Center attacks
Some researchers are “super-migrators” moving countries frequently for the sake of their career
Early career researchers (those who were more recently awarded their PhD) are overrepresented in the ORCID Registry indicating that they’re signing up for an iD faster than older researchers
While John noted the constraints of using ORCID data for this type of analysis, he also believes that: “As ORCID grows into a more comprehensive sample, policymakers will likely use it to track the impact of their efforts to entice research talent. Meanwhile, the data offer a unique glimpse into the migratory lives of the world's knowledge producers.”
Taxonomists on ORCID
You may remember that earlier this year, David Shorthouse wrote about how he’s creating a compendium of taxonomists using a combination of Twitter plus our public API. At the time he had around 1,500 taxonomists on his list; that has now grown to a whopping 5,640 (at time of writing)! For those who don’t already have an iD he’s included a handy link on the home page, to make signing up - or signing in - super easy. As he commented in his original post: “Active campaigns like this engage communities of researchers with the ORCID ecosystem. Its well-constructed public API permits very rapid production of value-added products of benefit to those same communities. There’s potential here for other interesting ways to capitalize on positive feedback-driven network effects.” We agree!
Thanks to all of the above for sharing their use of our public API and data file -- we are proud to be open in name and practice!
Diving Right In: ORCID Plans for 2019
It is always wonderful to end the year with a bang. Just in time for the New Year fireworks, we reached a major milestone: 1,000 members! In addition, about 5,000 researchers create an iD every day, and our API is now used about 100m times a month!
Researchers are central to everything we do at ORCID and, over the past few years, we’ve spent time working with key communities -- publishers, research institutions, and funders -- to support them as they implement ORCID in their researcher workflows. In 2019, we’re turning our attention to researchers themselves!
2019 - The Year of the Researcher
In 2019 roadmap, we are focusing the four core strategies from our strategic plan on researchers. You can follow our progress on our 2019 Roadmap webpage.
Strategy 1: Researcher. Establish compelling reasons and methods for researchers to use ORCID to share verified information about themselves. Our Academia & Beyond project will expand our understanding of the needs of researchers in the Arts & Humanities and Life Science/Clinical Medicine communities. In Improving the User Experience, we are going in deep to ensure the ORCID Registry is broadly accessible and that researchers have a positive and consistent experience when using their iD. Look for us at workshops and other events, where we’ll be carrying out focus groups!
Strategy 2: Infrastructure. Establish ORCID’s role as a trusted and neutral actor in sharing information. We want researchers to have confidence that ORCID services will be there when they are submitting a paper or applying for funding! So, we are starting a multi-year scalability and resiliency project -- Data Infrastructure -- including work to enhance API service levels and ensure continuity of service for the increasing number of systems using ORCID as a login. In parallel, in our Operations project, we are working to improve our back-office services in areas that have a direct impact on the research community, such as member self-service and badging.
Strategy 3: Trusted assertions. Establish ORCID as a credible hub for asserting and re- using researcher information. Three of our 2019 projects are focused on helping researchers make the most out of iD-ID connections. PID Power will extend our assertion assurance work - our goal is to finally explain this in a way that everyone understands (look for our multi-modal presentation at PIDapalooza!) including by demonstrating practicality and utility in the ORCID Registry. Alongside this work, our Person Citations thought leadership project will explore the notion of “contribution” to include a corpus of a person’s activities. And we will be extending our 2018 project on collecting evidence of impact, to document and Share our Successes and outcomes and identify gaps, starting with this new infographic!
Srategy 4: Strategic relationships. Increase engagement with our global community. This year we will continue our work on the ORBIT project, with funder demonstration projects and a new working group focused on harmonizing the researcher experience for data exchange in funding application and reporting workflows. We are also launching RIPEN (Research Information Platform ENgagement), a community pilot, to make ORCID easier to use in a variety of research workflows.
Calling all researchers!
Interested in helping ORCID meet your needs? We are looking for working group participants, people to help us set up focus groups, and your feedback! If you are an arts and humanities researcher or a life sciences/clinical sciences researcher, we invite you to consider participating in our Academia and Beyond project. If you are interested in brainstorming what it means to cite a person (and how to do it), we invite you to consider participating in our Person Citations project. And if you are interested in helping to improve our user interface and user experience, please consider participating in our focus groups - and in suggesting venues to engage with your colleagues. More information on working groups is available on our Community webpage. To volunteer, please contact email@example.com. To provide feedback, please use our iDeas Forum.
Our plan from the beginning has been persistence through adherence to openness, researcher-centric principles, and fiscal responsibility. We have been making steady progress toward financial sustainability, with help from grants from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, National Science Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust as we built our services and membership base. We thank our funders, our members, and everyone who has supported us financially since our launch. 2019 will be our first year without grant support, and we are also projecting it will be our first year of positive cash flow. You’ll hear more when we reach this important milestone.
We thank everyone in our community for your continued support and look forward to working with you this year and into the future!
This post was updated on January 9, 2019 to change the number of researchers registering for an iD each day from 1,000 to 5,000
2018 Year in Review
2018 is nearly over and, with your help, we’ve made some significant strides toward achieving ORCID’s vision. We set ourselves some ambitious goals for the year, based on the strategic plan we developed in collaboration with our Board during 2017. Our 2018 project roadmap comprised eight projects that tied in with our strategic themes through a research funding lens:
Researchers. Establish compelling reasons and methods for researchers to use ORCID to share verified information about themselves
Infrastructure. Establishing ORCID’s role as a trusted and neutral actor in sharing (funding) information
Trusted assertions. Establish ORCID as a credible hub for asserting and re-using researcher information
Strategic relationships. Increase engagement with our global community
So, based on the measures of success we set ourselves, how did we do?
We reached a major milestone this year: 5 million registered researchers! Our Share Information project aimed to develop new and enhanced ways for researchers to share funding information when they publish. An important element of this is to increase transparency around the information in an ORCID record, so we did a lot of work on assertion assurance pathways -- ensuring that the provenance of ORCID data is clearly displayed and understood -- and to contribute to a robust research infrastructure based on persistent identifiers. In addition, our new API 3.0, launched in October, features new affiliation types that enable researchers to be recognized for the many different sorts of contributions they make; it also allows the use of research resources, such as national laboratories or special collections, to be connected with ORCID records.
Our Collecting the Evidence project set out to determine whether researchers benefit when using ORCID in research workflows - through reduced data entry or streamlined reporting, for example. We established a methodology for collecting and analyzing community sentiment using social media tools, and we also tracked Twitter engagement. We also developed and fielded surveys to listen to our community. We will be publishing a summary of this work alongside a review of community reports about ORCID in early 2019.
Our goal is to provide our community with top-notch reliability. We had 100m hits on our API in October - the highest month ever - and have had 100% uptime throughout the year on both our member and public APIs. We are taking down the site in December to upgrade our servers to ensure we can continue this level of service. As we make the transition out of start-up phase, we undertook an organization-wide restructure to build resiliency and community responsiveness. We also moved to a new help desk ticketing system that allows us to provide language-specific and also continued to update our help and outreach resources.
Our big 2018 infrastructure initiative was the ORBIT (ORCID Reducing Burden and Improving Transparency) project. Our goal was to enable identifier-based researcher → funding connections and ultimately improve data quality, reduce administrative burden, and streamline the reporting process through re-use of open information. To do this, we engaged with funders directly to understand their grant application workflows and information requirements - over 30 funders around the world are now involved in ORBIT. With the help of our Funder Working Group members, we have mapped information typically collected during grant application against the ORCID record schema. We are also working with funders on pathfinder projects to enable data connections in funder systems using identifiers. We’ve made good progress o during this Year in ORBIT, including supporting an open letter that funders are using to indicate their intent to integrate ORCID. There is a lot more to do and we are looking forward to continued activity with the funding community in 2019.
Our measures of success here were the development of policies and processes that enable transparency of information sources and the documentation and promotion of success stories. In addition to the assertion assurance work noted above, one of our key achievements was compliance with the European Union GDPR regulation. Given our core principles of individual control and transparency, we were already largely in alignment, so most of our efforts were focused on fine-tuning our internal processes, as outlined in GDPR, ORCID, and You.
We also made good progress working with service providers and platforms on using the ORCID record as an activity hub for researchers. We kicked off two new community initiatives -- the ORCID in Repositories Task Force (report expected shortly) and the ORCID in Publishing Working Group. We partnered with platforms that have integrated ORCID to demonstrate how we can be better together, making it easier for our members that are using these systems to implement ORCID in accordance with our best practices.
The three projects under this heading can be measured in terms of how they enabled us to build and maintain productive relationships with our partners. Our regional strategies this year focused on defining and developing ORCID communities of practice, working especially closely with our consortia lead organizations globally. We held our first consortia workshop in January, updated our consortium policies and practices (including the launch of consortium self-service portal) and this year welcomed new national consortia in Brazil, the US, Israel and Portugal. We’ve also recently signed agreements with Austria, and Greece and Denmark is relaunching its consortium -- more on these in early 2019!.
We also set out our vision for how we want to work with our community, and in particular our members and consortia, to create a sustainable infrastructure through a mix of technology and engagement. Our recently announced RIPEN (Research Information Platform Engagement) program is intended to reduce technical barriers and broaden our engagement with research organizations we currently under-serve, by scaling up to enable easier ORCID iD authentication for everyone. We are starting this project by developing an internal workflow to better recognize and thank the many friends of ORCID who help support our mission by standing for election to the Board, volunteering for our task forces and working groups, providing translations or open source code, sharing outreach resources, and so much more.
A heartfelt thank you to you all for your continued support!
Announcing the Results of our 2019 Board Elections
ORCID holds Board member elections every year, following an open recommendation and nominations process. ORCID Board members serve for three years; each year about a third of the Board seats are up for election. The Nominating Committee was chaired this year by Karin Wulf, a researcher member of the ORCID Board. The committee reviewed 25 applications.
The committee must balance a number of objectives when developing the slate. Their overarching aim is to recommend candidates who are driven by the ORCID mission and are able to contribute to ORCID’s development, through their personal and organizational knowledge and networks of influence. Diversity is also an important factor - in terms of skills, geographic location, organizational representation, and gender -- and the committee must also ensure that the Board, as per our bylaws, remains majority non-profit.
The Nominating Committee’s slate of candidates was reviewed by the Board at its September 2018 meeting, announced in this blog post by Karin Wulf, and sent directly to ORCID members via our newsletter and an email to all voting contacts in member organizations.
This year, for the first time, we also held regional Town Hall meetings after the slate was announced for members in the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe, Middle East & Africa, to provide an overview of the process, share information about the slate, and answer questions.
Of the 832 members eligible to vote in the 2019 Board elections, 239 (28.7%) cast votes, above the 10% participation needed for the election to be valid. Of those members casting ballots, 226 (94.6%) voted in favor of the slate, 10 (4.2%) abstained, and three (1.3%) voted against the ballot. The election results were certified at 13:10 GMT on 7 December 2018.
On behalf of the Board and ORCID staff, our thanks to everyone who submitted nominations and participated in the elections process, especially the members of our Nominating Committee. Please join me in welcoming our new and returning Board members:
Richard Ikeda (second term), National Institutes of Health, US
Veronique Kiermer (second term), PLOS, US
Robert Kiley (second term), Wellcome Trust, UK
Shouguang Xie, Social Sciences Academic Press, China
Call for Nominations for the ORCID Board in 2019
Last Call for 2019 ORCID Board Recommendations
Announcing the ORCID Board Slate for 2019
Signing the ORCID Funder Open Letter
Co-authored by Christian Gutknecht and Michael Hill, respectively Specialist for Information Systems and Deputy Head of Strategy Support at the Swiss National Science Foundation
Today, the Swiss National Science Foundation has signed the ORCID Funder Open Letter as part of our commitment to expand the integration of ORCID across funding data management systems (see press release). We believe ORCID can add substantial value to the data infrastructure of funders and hope that more will join this important initiative.
ORCID Integration at the SNSF Today
In 2017, 16,000 researchers were associated with 5800 ongoing Swiss National Science Foundation projects. Managing this amount of personal, academic, and financial data requires substantial infrastructure and resources. At the SNSF, our own in-house software called mySNF, lies at the heart of this infrastructure. mySNF can manage the full administrative life-cycle of a research project, from the submission of CVs and research proposals to the final collection of project output data.
This infrastructure is vital to efficient management of research funding data, and most funders rely on such systems. The systems and their underlying requirements are, however, different for different funders and, as a result, they are rarely directly interoperable. This means that researchers still need to submit separate CVs to individual funders because the requirements or submission formats vary; grants can still be difficult to identify and track online; funders cannot easily and systematically verify or share relevant information; and, accordingly, they cannot track research activity beyond their own infrastructure making longitudinal studies difficult.
Individually, many funders have embraced digitalisation. On a global scale, however, end-to-end data curation and exchange are still lacking due, at least in part, to the heterogeneity of CV and grant data. The SNSF is committed to improving this situation and, by signing the ORCID Open Letter, we encourage other funders to join the effort.
Already today, over 4,000 researchers have entered their ORCID iD in mySNF, which is then also mirrored in the SNSF’s public project output platform P3. mySNF also allows for researchers to import dataset and publication metadata directly from ORCID, and funded projects can in turn be exported to ORCID, albeit indirectly. Following the best practice guidelines for funders, the SNSF is furthermore committed to increasing integration of ORCID in mySNF through three separate initiatives.
The first initiative pursues the goal of developing a way for researchers to easily add their SNSF grant information to their ORCID records directly. Crossref’s aim to register DOIs for grants is obviously highly relevant in this regard; accordingly, the SNSF also participates in Crossref’s funder advisory board to define metadata attributes for grants. By providing grant data directly to Crossref and ORCID, researchers’ track records could be auto-populated and funding institutions could simplify the reporting and monitoring of applicants’ overlapping grants across funders.
The second initiative aims at crediting the work of peer reviewers and evaluation panel members by offering the option to easily add these efforts to their ORCID profile. As described by Jason Gush from New Zealand’s Royal Society Te Apārangi, the latest extension to the ORCID metadata model offers the opportunity to implement such a service. The SNSF is hoping to provide its reviewers and evaluators with this service, not only as an incentive but also as honest acknowledgement for their valuable work.
The third initiative was inspired by the ORCID Reducing Burden and Improving Transparency (ORBIT) project, where a group of funders investigated various ways of facilitating and increasing the integration of ORCID in their data management infrastructure. At the SNSF today, researchers still upload their CV in the form of a PDF formatted according to our specification. Based on the work initiated in ORBIT, we are now investigating how much CV data might be imported directly from ORCID into mySNF in the future and how such an import could best be implemented.
CV Data Alignment and Evaluation
All these efforts aim at improving the standardisation, reliability, and value of data and at facilitating its management. The actual data itself and what we do with it, however, is — at least to some extent — a separate matter. In an independent project, in close collaboration with ORCID and other stakeholders, we are therefore also investigating what actually constitutes valuable data in a CV. What do we as funders really need to know about the track record of applicants, and how can we best use this information to ensure fair evaluation procedures? If we can find some answers to these basic questions, then we might also have a chance at developing some common standards or guidelines for CVs and their evaluation.
More widespread ORCID integration on the one side, and more closely aligned CV requirements on the other, have the potential to truly transform how we think about and manage track record data in funding institutions. At the same time, global, end-to-end interoperability of CV and grant data would also allow for new ways of sharing and interacting with such data, providing valuable research opportunities and insights. The SNSF is proud to be a co-signatory of the ORCID Open Letter, which promotes these goals, and we encourage all funders to join this initiative.
Related Posts and Pages
ORCID Funder Open Letter
Funder Signatory Request Form
ORCID press release