Publishing an article in a good, peer-reviewed journal is no petty matter. Promoting it to be more discoverable is far more difficult. But what if a reader can not find your work or mistake you for someone else having a similar name, or someone/organization wants to see the listing of all of your publications? The problem was solved by a global registry of author and researcher identifiers known as Open Research and Contributor ID (ORCID), which came into being by the efforts of publishers, researchers, research institutions, and funders. The core mission of ORCID is “to provide a registry of persistent unique identifiers for researchers and scholars”.
It comes with the benefits like, a unique identifier for a particular author, simplification of research workflows, resolving name ambiguity, ensuring accurate research attribution that can further reinforce recognition and credibility of an author in a community. Another advantage of having an ORCID is that it is not affected by changes in the employment, so all past publication stays within the permanent unique identifier allotted to an author. ORCID has provided a high-fidelity solution to the name ambiguity, reduced reporting workload, improved attribution, and a better understanding of knowledge flows to support research, collaboration, and evaluation, but there are some downsides to this author disambiguation tool like difficulty in obtaining and linking all publications, ‘accidental’ claim and cheat and abuse of the publication by linking papers derived from paper mills. Therefore, according to Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva ORCID doesn’t guarantee the authenticity of authors associated with a paper mill-derived paper because of the weakness of ORCID.
Jaime studied the abuse of ORCID’s weakness by authors who use paper mills, and reported that there exists a strong incentive to abuse the publication of ORCID because of the deception by paper mills having disposable accounts (created by paper ill operators) that affect the integrity of biomedical literature, and by ‘ghost’ or empty ORCID accounts where identities can’t be verified. The author stressed that certain issues limit the effectiveness of the use and widespread implementation of ORCID, which should be discussed and resolved first.
The first problem noticed by researchers is that ORCID is a permanent identifier, meaning it cannot be deleted, though there are benefits to it like the longevity of publication recorded, but has a possible disadvantage because of ghost account. Secondly, there are certain incomplete or empty accounts with limited use, and they are not reliable sources of information. The user can control the content of the page, so how can an editor verify that the individual who claims to be the submitting and corresponding author is truly that individual?
In different countries worldwide, ORCID is vital for authorship and academic papers for recognition and career advancement, thus it provides a strong incentive to cheat and abuse the platform from gaining advantages, that includes monetary benefits therefore the community standards should be applied to ORCID like it should be implemented in the academic community, after getting their input/opinion about conformity to resolve resistance for its global use. Secondly, it should not be automatic and should have across-the-board requirements for all academics. Thirdly, ORCID is used to determine research transparency and integrity, but fewer mainstream publishers are using it across multiple disciplines, so urgent attention should be given to rebut or resolve this problem.
ORCID, Academic integrity, Identifiers, Author identifiers, Paper mills