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ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a non-proprietary alphanumeric code to uniquely identify scientific and other academic authors and contributors. This addresses the problem that a particular author's contributions to the scientific literature or publications in the humanities can be hard to recognize as most personal names are not unique, they can change (such as with marriage), have cultural differences in name order, contain inconsistent use of first-name abbreviations and employ different writing systems. It provides a persistent identity for humans, similar to that created for content-related entities on digital networks by digital object identifiers (DOIs). The ORCID organization offers an open and independent registry intended to be the de facto standard for contributor identification in research and academic publishing.
The aim of ORCID is to aid "the transition from science to e-Science, wherein scholarly publications can be mined to spot links and ideas hidden in the ever-growing volume of scholarly literature". Another suggested use is to provide each researcher with "a constantly updated ‘digital curriculum vitae’ providing a picture of his or her contributions to science going far beyond the simple publication list”. The idea is that other organizations will use the open-access ORCID database to build their own services.