Tuesday, May 17, 2011


There is a global system for unique identification of electronic publications: DOI. But so far there is no unique system to identify researchers. Thompson/ISI has Researcher ID but it is dependent on authors registering themselves and is still of limited utility. Databases such as RePEc or SSRN use their own systems. The problem is that though there is only one published academic called D. I. Stern there are lots of people called David Stern or D. Stern. And I'm relatively lucky to have even one unique version of my name. Chinese names are particularly problematic given the high frequency of such names as Liu or Wang. Scopus has an author search system which is quite effective but still makes lots of mistakes in combining and splitting the contributions of different authors. They allow one to contribute corrections but this is again only as useful as Researcher ID in fixing the database. And all these systems are proprietary. Google Scholar has no such system.

So I was interested in hearing of the ORCID initiative to standardize electronic author attribution. One concern is that Google is not a participant. But otherwise this sounds promising.

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