Getting the message to academics: promoting ORCID on a university campus

This is a guest blog post by THOR ambassador Patricia Herterich. Patricia is the Research Repository Advisor at the University of Birmingham Library and a PhD candidate at the Berlin School of Library and Information Science. As part of her role at the University of Birmingham, she provides training and advice on research data management and co-ordinates the development of institutional repository services.

When I started my position as Research Repository Advisor at the University of Birmingham last year, signing up as THOR ambassador was one of the first things I did. With a background in library and information science I love persistent identifiers (PIDs), the UK ORCID consortium had just launched and I had a campus full of researchers to work with, two ePrints based repositories and a Current Research Information System (CRIS) on my hands. Perfect environment to promote the awesomeness of linking persistent identifiers and getting some easy wins you’d think, but well… not quite.

The ORCID integration in our CRIS (we use PURE) was not fully enabled (you could sign up for an ORCID iD through the CRIS, but not push information to the ORCID record); resource to develop the institutional repository existed more on paper than in reality and the institutional policy encouraging our researchers to see the benefit of signing up for an ORCID iD had only minimal practical support.

So, what to do?

First of all, join a community! Attending UK ORCID consortium meetings made me realise that we were not the only institution struggling to promote the advantages of linking PIDs when enabling features are lacking in our systems. As our CRIS implementation was enabled to push information to the ORCID records, and more and more journals were requiring ORCID iDs upon manuscript submission, it was time to get the word about ORCID’s benefits out to our researchers.

Tweet ORCID swag (2)

Equipped with some goodies from ORCID, we scheduled three one hour lunchtime sessions across campus throughout March 2017 (unfortunately, we just missed out on pi day…). The sessions provided an overview of the advantages of signing up for an ORCID iD, all the systems that use it so far, followed by demonstrations on how to link the ORCID record to a profile in PURE, exporting publications to ORCID, and other features available to curate one’s ORCID record. Afterwards, staff stayed on to help academics with creating and linking their ORCID records through PURE.

The sessions were attended by about 40 people in total: administrators who will support their researchers in getting their ORCID records curated; librarians who will include ORCID in upcoming training and consultation sessions, and researchers – from PhD students just starting their career to senior academics. As of late May 2017, we have 177 ORCID iDs registered in PURE, 41 of them pushed information to their ORCID records following our sessions: a total of 1328 works were connected to ORCID records and thus linked to one of their authors for the first time! (And this is only the public information as some of our researchers restricted visibility of the information pushed to ORCID to trusted parties only.)

What’s next?

We plan to keep on improving PID integrations in our systems through:

  • Engaging with our CRIS provider for further integrations via the UK PURE User group,
  • Becoming a DataCite member via the British Library which will allow us to assign DOIs to datasets, working papers, and dissertations produced by our researchers,
  • Introducing new features to our ePrints repositories that allow us to collect ORCID iDs and link them to DOIs for our material upon minting ,
  • Continue communicating the benefits of PIDs to our academics through embedding information and raising awareness in existing training sessions,
  • Engaging with the UK community via the UK ORCID consortium.

As we’re just getting started with joining the dots on campus, it will be crucial for us to keep an eye on THOR results and outputs and learn from the project’s work whenever we can.