ORCID stands for the “Open Researcher Contributor Identification Initiative”. As a nonprofit organization created in 2010, ORCID started as a way to ensure that anyone that participates in research activities could be uniquely identified across the many systems and databases that are part of the research space. Any researcher can register at ORCID and receive a unique and persistent identifier called the ORCID iDs – a 16-digit number. This ORCID iD can then be used to distinguish individual researchers from one another in databases like PubMed where author names are often listed differently for the same researcher and where the initials and last name fail to distinguish among researchers with the same last name.

ORCID is also more than just an identifier. It is also a registry – enabling researchers to reliably connect their publications, non-traditional research works, grants, and professional honors and affiliations to their ORCID profile. As a registry, ORCID is in many ways a dynamic resume of each researcher.

How can you benefit from ORCID?

ORCID offers funders a chance to streamline their research funding and grants management process:

  • Reporting Impact – adopting ORCID allows you to identify your grantees across multiple sources of data like PubMed or NIH RePorter. Because your grantees may have similar first and last names with other researchers around the world, it is challenging and time consuming to reliably collect and analyze their research activity and output. Many publishers are now requiring authors to provide their ORCID iDs for publications enabling funders to track the research output and contributions to knowledge development by their grantees.
  • Reducing – Burden think of ORCID as a dynamic, online curriculum vitae(CV).Researchers can keep their information in one place and reuse that information in publishing and grants management systems without retyping the information every time. In Altum’s proposalCENTRAL, researchers are able to pull information about their publications and other support (grants) into applications and grantee reports. Leveraging that information (e.g., profile data) in ORCID expedites the funding workflow for researchers and provides more consistent data for funders.
  • Connecting the Research Community. One of the most common challenges funders face is tracking the progress of a researcher’s career after the grant to that researcher is closed. With ORCID, you gain a persistent connection to that researcher over their career and can now see the progress of a researcher before and after your grant to them. The chart below shows a sample view of a researcher and their achievements.

How do I get started?

Step 1: Encourage your applicants and grantees to get an ORCID iD. ORCID iDs are free to obtain on the ORCID website (https://orcid.org/register).

Step 2: Require ORCID iD on your grant applications. Collecting the ORCID iD is the first step to start analyzing data connected to a researcher. It takes approximately 30 seconds for a research to get an ORCID iD and it’s free.

Step 3: Join an ORCID consortium and become an ORCID member. There are currently 21 ORCID Consortia members (https://orcid.org/consortia) and they’re a great way to learn and take a systematic approach to implementing ORCID in your organization.

Step 4: Work with your system provider to implement ORCID into more of your workflow processes. ORCID offers an API (Application Programming Interface) which enables a more integrated solution for your application, review, and evaluation processes.


ORCID is an exciting, global, and transformative solution for the researchmcommunity. With the support of the National Institutes of Health and many other funders around the world, there is a tremendous opportunity to streamline and accelerate the tracking, reporting and evaluation of funded research.