Just like digital object identifiers, DOIs, for online information, there is a push to create similar unique identifiers for researchers. Thanks to Ellis Island, I have a very rare last name, and I can usually find all of my papers with a simple search for “M Liemohn.” If your name is Jane Smith, however, searching for “J Smith” will result in total confusion. You will have to add more criteria like affiliation and keywords, and even then there could be more than one such person in the search results. An identification system for people is needed.
One such digital person identifier is the Open Researcher and Contributor ID, ORCID. This is like the ResearcherID for which you can register with Thomson-Reuters, the creators of the ISI Web of Science and the Impact Factor, except that ORCID is open source software, a completely public database, and maintained by a nonprofit organization. Thomson-Reuters is actually a “Gold Sponsor” of ORCID, and you can link your ResearcherID and ORCID accounts to share information. More about ORCID is found on their website.
AGU is now requiring an ORCID for corresponding authors. Brooks Hanson, the Director of Publications for AGU, wrote an Eos article about this new policy. While required for the corresponding author, registration is encouraged for all authors and reviewers. In addition to being a unique identifier for you as an author, ORCID will also keep a record of your reviewing service (only filtered to the number of reviews for a journal in a given year, to maintain confidentiality).
The question has arisen: how do you register for an ORCID? Here’s the link for the registration page: https://orcid.org/register. Creating your ORCID takes less than a minute. Entering your biographical information might take a couple of minutes. If you have an existing ResearcherID, then importing all of your publications into ORCID is very quick. If not, then there will be some time needed to fill this in. Getting an ORCID number for yourself, though is fast, and I encourage everyone to do it and add it to your JGR Space Physics GEMS profile.