May 2010

I’ve been following the Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID) initiative since its announcement late last year, but the collaborators have been quietly hammering out the details behind the scenes. As of this week, they’ve just released a PDF with a lot more information, including some ideas on how the implementation will work, such as potential manuscript submission interfaces, metadata importation, and mock-ups of interfaces for authors to input publications, affiliations, and contact information.

It appears that ORCID has come a long way since their initial announcement. They now have over 90 participating organizations (is your organization involved yet?), up from an initial 23, including big name publishers like Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, PLoS, Springer, Taylor & Francis, and many large research universities, including Harvard and Cornell. Now that the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) has firmly taken root in scientific publishing, a clear-cut author identification program like ORCID should be widely implemented easily, especially with substantial backing from Nature Publishing Group. A 2009 Nature editorial discusses some of the potential applications of ORCID, such as allowing researchers to create an ongoing digital curriculum vitae, or to receive credit for work which isn’t part of a high-profile publication but still has a major contribution to a body of scientific knowledge.

There are still many kinks to be ironed out—the latest announcement notes that “privacy and access rights as well as funding issues are being tackled.” They also indicate that “ORCID may be linked to other registries, such as the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) a draft international standard for tracking creators, actors, artists and performers,” but it bodes well that they’re taking all of these factors into account. With all of the Professor Zhangs and Dr. Wilsons floating around publishing prolifically, a standard name identification scheme like ORCID is overdue and poised for success.


These beautiful digital collages of wildlife are made out of old maps by artist Jason LaFerrera. Archival prints are for sale on his Etsy shop. These are really striking, and would make a great, unique gift for lovers of wildlife and/or maps!

I’ve been posting here much less frequently than I’d like to lately, and you deserve an explanation. Yes, you. Let this serve as both an explanation for my intermittent absence, and a sincere apology and promise to do better by you, Internet Audience. There are so many wonderful things I’ve been meaning to tell you about, like the miracle elephant baby in Australia, elephant twins in Thailand, and a reminder of 85 reasons to be thankful for librarians (ahem).

For what it’s worth, I have several good excuses for my absence. First, this was given to me by my darling boyfriend, along with a proposal.

He proposed, not unreasonably, that we get married and move to Chicago together, since he’s been offered a very good postdoctoral position at Northwestern University. I’d be crazy to turn down an offer like that (and while I may be crazy, I’m not that crazy), so I’ve been terribly busy planning a big party, looking for a job in Chicago, and trying to locate a home for us in the Chicago area.

I’m still busy with those activities, but nonetheless, I promise to do better by you, Internet Audience. Now, I’m off to busy myself with making good on that promise. In the meantime, if you know of any jobs in the Chicago area, please contact me for my resume.