It’s taken some time but it looks like there is now a viable unique identification system for researchers. No longer will John Smith’s h-index apparently be 459.
ORCID which stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID, is a non-proprietary code to uniquely identify academic authors, such as yours truly. So what? If you’ve ever used something like Publish and Perish to obtained someone’s h-index you’ll know why. Apparently in 1990, James Smith was the most common name in the US. For fun I estimated his h-index to be: 165. However this number was obtained after a time out because there were so many records. I doubt there is a single James Smith who actually has a h-index of 165+. We would have to laboriously go through the results removing the James Smiths that we weren’t interested in order to isolate the real James Smith. This is a somewhat trivial example but ORCID should help eliminate this and other more issues with respect to unambiguous author identification.
My ORCID identifier in all its glory is, wait for it…..
From the ORCID web site
“ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized.”