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Author Identifiers

This guide provides an overview of unique author identifiers and provides examples of several frequently used identifiers.


Welcome to the UC Health Sciences Library's resource guide for Unique Author Identifiers!

Welcome to the Authors Tools & Identifiers Guide! Here you will find information on unique author identifiers, such as ORCID and ResearcherID. Check out the tabs in this guide to leran more about unique author identifiers or click directly on one of the author ID resources below to learn more!

What is a unique author ID?

Martin Fenner's 2011 article in Libreas, Author Identifier Overview ( and provides an excellent introduction to why unique author identifiers are necessary:

"We have long assigned unique numbers to genes, species or stars, and have used unique identifiers for scholarly works for more than 10 years, but unique identifiers for authors are still fairly new and not yet in widespread use(1). Unique author identifiers are useful for the following reasons (2-8):

  1. Researchers want to find potential collaborators, and want an easier way to get credit for their scholarly activities,
  2. Institutions want to collect, showcase and often evaluate the scholarly activities of their faculty,
  3. Publishers want to simplify the publishing workflow, including peer review,
  4. Funding organizations want to simplify the grant submission workflow and want to track what happened to the research they funded, and
  5. Scholarly societies want an easier way to track the achievements of their members."
References 1-8 From Fenner's Article
1.      Aerts R. Digital identifiers work for articles, so why not for authors? Nature. 2008;453:979.
2.      Falagas ME. Unique author identification number in scientific databases: a suggestion. PLoS medicine. 2006;3:e249.
3.      Bourne PE, Fink JL. I am not a scientist, I am a number. PLoS computational biology. 2008;4:e1000247.
4.      Cals JW, Kotz D. Researcher identification: the right needle in the haystack. The Lancet. 2008;371:2152-3.
5.      Wolinsky H. What's in a name? EMBO reports. 2008;9:1171-4.
6.      Enserink M. Scientific publishing. Are you ready to become a number? Science. 2009;323:1662-4.
7.      Habibzadeh F, Yadollahie M. The problem of “Who”. The International Information & Library Review. 2009;41:61-2.
8.      Thorisson GA. Accreditation and attribution in data sharing. Nature Biotechnology. 2009;27:984-5.
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