RCUK joins national ORCID consortium

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Research Councils UK (RCUK) has joined the national consortium for ORCID – the researcher identifier solution that enables a wide range of improvements to the scholarly communications ecosystem – and will be ready to start capturing ORCID identifiers in early 2016.

Offered by Jisc, the not-for-profit digital organisation for education and research, the framework agreement will enable RCUK to access the benefits of ORCID at reduced costs and with enhanced technical support. It joins almost 50 universities to have taken up membership since the consortium launched in summer 2015.

RCUK’s announcement follows a report by Professor James Wilsdon from earlier this year called The Metric Tide, which urged the UK research system to take full advantage of ORCID as its preferred unique iDs and for it to become mandatory by the next REF. This sentiment was reiterated by a joint RCUK and Jisc report, highlighting ORCID as the leading standard for researcher identifiers.

Neil Jacobs, head of scholarly communications support at Jisc, said: 'Widespread uptake of ORCID by both funders and universities is central to creating a more reliable, efficient and transparent research system. We welcome RCUK’s membership to the consortium. Its decision to begin capturing ORCID iDs is an important step in improving the flow of research information in higher education (HE).'

ORCID works by providing researchers with a unique digital identity that distinguishes them from other scholars. The researcher is then able to use their iD when applying for research grants, submitting publications and any other research workflows to ensure they receive credit for their work, even if they change research organisations or leave academia.

For organisations, ORCID iDs can improve the integration of research systems and processes and support research management workflows, such as grant applications. Increased use should ultimately help to transform the management, re-use, and efficiency of the UK’s research output.

Andrew Wright, head of the research funding team, at RCUK, said: 'RCUK is committed to working collaboratively across the sector to realise the benefits of ORCID and sees joining the national ORCID consortium as an important step in this process. In reducing the costs and technical challenges in adopting ORCID, the consortium ensures a smoother path to ORCID implementation that should accelerate adoption in the UK.'