What is an ORCID?

Have you been asked for your ORCID ID yet? Increasingly, research funders, employers and publishers are asking their researchers to sign up for an ORCID ID


Picture of two bee orchids taken on Whiteknights campus

Bee orchids found on Reading University’s Whiteknights campus

What is an ORCID ID?

An ORCID® identifier or ORCID iD is a 16-character identifier that can be used to clearly identify you – and not another researcher by a similar name – as the author/owner of an academic output or activity.

Your name is unlikely to be unique and you may find that your research outputs are getting confused with those of another researcher with a similar name.

An ORCID ID can be particularly useful for researchers who have published using several different variants of ther name and initials or have published under different names (for example if you’ve changed your name through marriage/civil partnership/divorce or to suit your gender better).

Example of ORCID record with two distinct surnames

ORCID IDs can bring together different names that you’ve published under

What is it for?

The idea behind ORCID identifiers is that they should be a stable link between all your research activities – grant applications, manuscript submissions, publications, entries in institutional repositories and your peer review activity.

Your ORCID ID belongs to you and you control what information is added to your ID. You can choose to use your ORCID profile as a mini-CV listing all your publications, work history and funding or you can just use the number to identify you and your research outputs.

Why do I need one?

Many publishers and funding organisations are insisting that researchers supply an ORCID ID when submitting a manuscript or peer review or applying for grants. The list is likely to grow in the future. Here are a few examples:

  • Nature journals
  • PLOS
  • eLife
  • Science journals
  • IEEE publications
  • Hindawi publications
  • Wellcome Trust
  • RCUK

Once you have an ORCID ID, make sure you add it to your registration details on manuscript submission sites and other sites such as ResearchFish.

Who is behind ORCIDs?

ORCID is a non-profit organisation that is governed by a board of directors with wide stakeholder representation. Member organisations such as funders, publishers and institutions pay a membership fee but signing up for an ORCID is free.

How much will it cost?

Registration for an ORCID ID is free and maintaining this free status is one of the core principles of the ORCID organisation. To sign up, you will need to agree to ORCID’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You need not have an official affiliation and there is no set of requirements to qualify as a researcher. Adding data to your record, changing your record, sharing your data, and searching the registry are also free.

What does an ORCID ID look like?

Your ORCID ID is a 16 character number that identifies you and not someone else with the same name.

An ORCID ID is a 16-character identifier that is associated with your name and scholarly outputs

An ORCID ID is a 16-character identifier that is associated with your name and scholarly outputs

You can see a (fictitious) example of an ORCID record for Josiah Carberry, an expert on Cracked Pots, here: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1825-0097 ORCID example

How do I register for an ORCID?

It is very easy to sign up for an ORCID ID – registering  for your ORCID Identifier takes about 30 seconds.

You can then add as much personal information as you want to your record. The minimum recommendation is that you add the country that you are working in, some keywords about your research area and possibly a link to your university webpage. It is always a good idea to add an alternative email address just in case you ever have difficulty accessing your account.

You can add much more information about your research outputs and use your ORCID like a mini-CV.

Help and support

Take a look at our ORCID library guide for more help on how to sign up and populate an ORCID ID or contact the University’s Research Publications Adviser. The ORCID support centre is also full of useful information.

More information from ORCID

This short video shows how ORCID IDs can help researchers gain credit for all their scholarly activities.

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