Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Discussing ORCID... and the Gold vs Green controversy

  A new GrandIR technical session was held on Sep 6th at the Open University of Catalonia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, UOC) in Barcelona. This new workshop was devoted to Author IDs and ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) and brought together representatives from the various stakeholders concerned by the launch of the ORCID service, to take place next Oct 15th. The event programme included ORCID themselves (Martin Fenner, Chair of the ORCID Outreach Working Group), National author ID initiatives (Amanda Hill, Names Project UK), funders (Gerry Lawson, Natural Environment Research Council, NERC), National Research Offices (David Arellano, Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, FECYT) and publishers/vendors (Philip Purnell, Thomson Reuters). Each of the speakers delivered a presentation (files are downloadable from the session programme) and a round table was held afterwards in order to discuss the requirements for an universal author identifier as well as its implications and challenges.

A summary of the session discussions follows:
    • - ORCID service is set to be launched Oct 15th. Martin Fenner provided an up-to-date view of the ORCID interface as it stands right now, although -he mentioned- it keeps evolving every day.
      - ORCID business model is currently being established along the following lines: the service will be free for individual authors/researchers, and there will be a fee for institutions, to be classified as small or large. Charge for small ones will be $4,000 per year. Overlay services will gradually be made available.
      - ORCID will run different strategies for buiding up an author database: (free) individual registration for authors, collective registration for institutions (for a fee), collection & upgrade from other existing author IDs - such as ThomsonReuters ResearcherID, Scopus Author Identifier, arXiv, etc.
      - ORCID duplication may result from overlapping registration strategies - some dissambiguation work should be required to clear those. ORCID won't be providing this service (at least not at launchtime, although possibly later on), so this might be a potential role for National Author ID projects (such as Names, DAI or Lattes) which lie closer to the authors.
      - Two main workflows have been designed so far for promoting ORCID use: (i) Publisher Workflow, meaning publishers will request ORCIDs to authors at manuscript submission time, and (ii) Funder Workflow, by which funders will request ORCIDs to researchers at grant bid submission time. Several publishers are already working to enable ORCID collection, and research funders are happy to be able to work with a non-profit initiative instead of commercial providers.
    • - Institutions running a CRIS system will be better positioned for ORCID implementation, once the required datamodel updates are performed (euroCRIS CERIF TG is currently working on CERIF datamodel enhancement in order to bring persistent identifiers into the system). For those HEIs not running CRIS Systems (for which CERIF is incidentally not a requirement), Institutional Repositories may as well play a key role for ORCID implementation purposes.
      - There are a number of author ID-related services that ORCID will not aim to provide. Among these, organisation IDs, citations, usage or other value-added services. ORCID actually aims to provide a basic feature (namely author identifier plus attached publications) on top of which other stakeholders are expected to build value-added services. ThomsonReuters ResearcherID (as well as other commercial or national author ID services) is therefore not planned to be superseded by ORCID, but they will co-exist instead.
      - One month away from service launch, there are several important factors that remain unclear, such as the service takeup by authors, the project timeschedule or the level of duplication that may result from overlapping registration strategies. Strategies for service dissemination among the research community remain also to be defined to some extent. However, meetings like the one held in Barcelona or the upcoming one at Humboldt-Universität in Berlin will certainly support awareness-raising among the research community.

  • Finally, the meeting in Barcelona also offered the opportunity to discuss with Gerry Lawson, UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), whether the RCUK policy for promoting Gold OA as a default option for complying with their Open Access policy turned the Research Council into "traitors" to the Open Access movement. When offered the opportunity to discuss their view, he said the Coucils were by no means opposed to Green OA - only after ten years work, repositories were still not complying the funders' requirements for tracking Open Access outputs and payments.

    Discussions on the default Gold OA direction the UK has taken following the release of the Finch Report should also account for this current reporting shortcomings in Green OA infrastructures. At the same time, requests for turning the RCUK OA Policy a more balanced supporting tool for both Gold and Green OA seem indeed reasonable enough.

    In summary, the session was very useful for disseminating the current state of the ORCID initiative on the verge of its being released and for discussing its implications and challenges for organisations and initiatives potentially involved in its roll out as a service to researchers and the wider community. Some additional session outcomes are starting to surface as requests for further ORCID dissemination at given universities in Spain - more information on this will be provided in due time. The ORCID Service launch meeting in Berlin next October will also provide new insights on the service that will be dutily reported.

    Video recordings of the interventions will shortly be made available at the UOC O2 Institutional Repository. A useful session summary in Spanish has also been published by Elvira Santamaria at the EPI Blog.

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