Researcher Identifiers—What’s in a Name (or URI)?

Notes: View the community notes Google doc for this session.

Session Type: Project Update

Slides: View slides from this session here.

Session Description
A number of approaches to providing authoritative researcher identifiers have emerged, but they tend to be limited by discipline, affiliation or publisher. The rise of bibliometrics and its extension, altmetrics—the attempt to measure the impact of a work including mentions in social media and news media—strengthens the need to uniquely identify researchers and correctly associate them with their scholarly output. Both institutions and researchers have a stake in ensuring their scholarly output is accurately represented across academia and the web. It is time for universities to transition from watchful waiting to engagement.

It is difficult to uniquely identify researchers when they have not authored monographs, but write primarily journal articles, and thus are not represented in national name authority files. An OCLC Research Task Group comprising specialists from the US, the UK, and the Netherlands (see developed eighteen use-case scenarios around different stake-holders, generated a list of functional requirements derived from these use case scenarios, and profiled 20 research networking systems. A researcher ID information flow diagram illustrates the complexity of the current ecosystem. The same information about a specific researcher may be represented in multiple databases, and only a subset interoperates with each other.

This presentation will summarize emerging adoption trends and focus on three identifiers—­ISNI, ORCID and VIAF. Participants will be asked to comment on the recommendations targeted to librarians, researchers and university administrators and share their experiences with or plans for researcher identifiers at their institutions.

Session Leader
Karen Smith-Yoshimura, OCLC Research