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Royal Society backs ‘scientific passport’ to better support researchers, funders and universities

07 December 2015


The Royal Society has announced today that from January it will ask authors submitting papers to Royal Society journals to provide an Open Researcher and Contributor ID or ‘ORCID’. The iD, which is like a scientific passport, is free of charge and will make it easier and faster for researchers to submit papers, apply for grants and find collaborators.

The Royal Society will be the first UK publisher to require researchers to provide ORCID iDs. The move is an important step to make grant application, article submission and other systems work better to support researchers. 

ORCID iDs, developed by a not-for-profit organisation, provide a unique iD for every researcher, to enable links with their research activities: the grants they hold, institutions they belong to, papers they have authored, datasets, peer review contributions, patents and other outputs. Using ORCIDs will:

  • Save time for busy researchers. ORCID identifiers support auto-updated ‘digital CVs’ for researchers. Instead of filling in name, affiliation, and works information for every grant they apply for or paper they submit, researchers will be able to use their ORCID iD to automatically provide the relevant information in compatible systems - slashing time spent filling in forms. 
  • Distinguish between researchers. There are millions of scientists around the world and the research base is growing rapidly.  Researchers with similar names are often mistaken for one another in online systems; and researchers with multiple names often are challenged to make their collection of works discoverable. ORCID provides each researcher with a unique iD to distinguish them from others. 
  • Help scientists build reputations. ORCID iDs connect information about an individual’s activities and outputs in a standard format. This enables third-party platforms such as profile systems build a complete picture of an individual’s research contributions. This makes researchers more visible to potential collaborators, funders and employers. The choice of information an ORCID iD connects to is up to the researcher - leaving decisions about privacy entirely in researcher’ hands. 

This announcement is an outcome from a four day discussion and debate event held at the Royal Society earlier this year to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the world’s first scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions. 

At the Future of Scholarly Scientific Communications a variety of experts looked at evolving and controversial areas in the scholarly communication landscape to explore how the system might evolve and adapt to serve science better in the future. 

Stuart Taylor, Publishing Director at the Royal Society said: 

“We recognise the great potential value of ORCID to the research system. We believe that publishers have a key role in promoting systems that provide support to researchers and to science.

“We are pleased to be the first UK publisher to make ORCID iDs a requirement for submitting papers to Royal Society journals. A number of other publishers are planning to do the same early in 2016 and we hope all publishers will ultimately support this system.”

Currently, any authors can provide their ORCID iD when submitting papers to Royal Society journals. From January it will become a requirement for all corresponding authors submitting papers. 

Some research funders already make ORCID iDs mandatory for their grant applicants. 

For further information please visit the Royal Society Publishing blog.