Note: A recent announcement from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that ORCIDs will be required for all individuals supported by awards from these agencies beginning in 2020!
An ORCID is a unique16-digit personal identifier that is registered through ORCID.org, a non-profit organization that maintains the registry and website.That number can be attached to any published work that you author in order to help ensure proper attribution and citation of your work, which may help improve your overall scholarly impact.
You can register for an ORCID at no charge on the ORCID.org website. Once registered, you may create a profile page that includes your education, place of employment, alternate names that you've published under, and list of works with links to any official online versions of that work. All of this information may be set to private, public, or trusted parties view only, if you like.
The ORCID is expressed as an https URI (Uniform Resource Identifier), sometimes with the ORCID icon attached, as in the example below. This link will also take you to a sample profile page.
You can also get a customized QR code that is readable by hand-held scanners, or embedding code to add any website or social media pages. Each of these will take users to your ORCID profile page where they will find whatever attribution information you provide.
For a quick video on setting up an ORCID, see: ORCID 101 for Individuals
And for an overview of an ORCID records, see: A Quick Tour of the ORCID Record
ORCIDs have become increasingly common among academic and professional researchers, and many scholarly publishers now have an option to include them on published works, along with a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), which is assigned by the publisher. The latter is linked to official online versions of the work, rather than to the author, so it's helpful to have both.
The video below from the Open Science MOOC, also demonstrates how to set up a researcher profile in ORCID and three other popular online tools: ImpactStory (to document how your research has be shared and re-used online), Publons (to document peer review activity), and Open Science Framework (a collaborative space for researchers).
ResearcherID (Thomson Reuters) offers a service similar to ORCID, but with the additional benefit of being integrated with Web of Science (one of the largest research databases) and Endnote (a bibliographic management tool), which allows researchers to use those tools to search, link, and share articles with other researchers as well as maintaining a profile and list of works.
The main difference between ResearcherID and ORCID is that the former is a proprietary service of Thomson Reuters, while the latter is a nonproprietary alternative run by a nonprofit organization. ResearcherID may be of greater interest to those who publish in Thomson Reuters journals or who want their work to be more visible in Web of Science, particularly those in the sciences and social sciences. Many researchers use both services, however, and ResearcherID does allow you to associate your account with your ORCID profile.
The ResearcherID Fact Sheet provides more details on the service.
Google Scholar profiles are one of the most common tools used by researchers to track their citations, h-index, or i10-index, find links to their published works, and receive alerts about new citations. If you're gathering article or book metrics for your promotion & tenure dossier, a Google Scholar profile will be the first step in locating that information.
The video below from the University of Houston Libraries will walk you through the steps of setting up a Google Scholar profile.
After following these steps, we recommend that you set your profile so that it does NOT automatically update (see below). This will keep your profile from being accidentally populated with citations to work that is not your own.