Who are you? ORCID knows the answer


A rather cryptic title to introduce an important paradigm shift in scientific publishing: after a long gestation, finally the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (in short, ORCID), a major initiative sponsored by most scientific publishers, has come to fruition. Wiley, one of the major sponsors of this initiative, has decided to implement ORCID on its submission websites right from the start, and the Journal of Applied Polymer Science is no exception, as you can see by logging onto http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/app. In this way, after you have visited ORCID and created your unique researcher ID, you can add this ID to your profile when submitting an article or reviewing a paper for our journal.

Why is this important? ORCID provides a unique identifier for researchers and contributors to distinguish the articles they write from those of authors with similar names.

From an author's point of view, this provides the certainty of not being confused with other, similarly named, authors who work perhaps in the same field. For example, the most prolific author in the Journal of Applied Polymer Science in 2012 turns out to be a “J. Zhang” (from ISI Web of Knowledge), which clearly identifies a number of authors and is thus completely useless as a search tool. As the number of researchers grows, and the number and types of their contributions swells, this is an increasingly fundamental problem in scientific publishing, and can become a very important factor while searching for a certain author's contribution on major databases, as shown. Thus, having a unique ID for each of these researchers in turn improves recognition of each author's original work, in the end increasing her/his own standing in the community.

For journal editors, this is perhaps even more important: for contributors with common names, searches in major databases for prior articles are essentially impossible with the current system based only on a researcher's name, as we have just shown. One needs to take into account the fact that most authors do not conserve the same affiliation throughout their career, so that is not necessarily a useful handle to distinguish similarly named authors, leaving the editor with few options but to use search engines and waste much time in the process.

For the Journal of Applied Polymer Science, therefore, the most immediate advantage in having ORCID right from the submission website is that, with a simple hyperlink on the submitted article page, the editor can see directly all the previous publications related to the ORCID used for the submission by the corresponding author as well as co-authors. This means a much speedier (and more accurate) evaluation of the novelty of each contribution, as well as a more accurate assignment of articles to referees.

Getting an ORCID is really simple, and the interface has the added advantage of pulling together all your publications from major databases, so that no further tedious adding of papers to your profile is necessary.

We strongly encourage all our authors and referees to sign up for ORCID, and in turn to load this information onto their accounts on the Journal of Applied Polymer Science's submission website. This is a major step towards giving everyone the recognition they deserve, and moving forward scientific publishing into the next stage.