Identifying yourself: an introduction to researcher identification

Research and Innovation Development Office

Category: Research news

3 April 2017

Guest post from Dr Tim Brooks, Research Policy and REF Manager in the Research and Innovation Development Office at ARU, about researcher identifiers.

Contact Tim if you want to know more. This post will be relevant only to ARU researchers.

Applying for a research grant? Seeking to get your research output published? Increasingly, you can’t do either of these things without some form of researcher identifier; and the latest suggestion is that one such system become the mandatory person identifier for the next REF, replacing the HESA staff ID. The purpose of this blog post is to briefly introduce the ‘big three’ researcher identifiers, and explain how you can interlink these with one another and with our Symplectic CRIS.

ResearcherID was developed by Thomson Reuters, who were providers of the Web of Science publication database service. To apply for a ResearcherID, visit, click “Join Now It’s Free”, and follow the links.

Author ID was developed by Scopus, who run a comparable service to ResearcherID. Scopus have taken a different approach and have automatically assigned Author IDs to individual researchers named on publications they index, so rather than applying for it you simply need to look up your Author ID. Visit and run an author search for yourself. You may be presented with one result only, or more likely a list; and you may, if Scopus holds only one publication, need to ‘Show Profile Matches with One Document’. Click through to a publication record, and under the title you should see your name. Click that, and you’ll get to an Author Details page displaying your Author ID.

Finally there’s ORCID, the Open Researcher & Contributor ID, which is run by an international non-profit organisation to attain a unique and persistent digital identifier, and which is increasingly emerging as the ‘gold standard’, and it’s in the frame to become the unique person ID in the next REF. To get one of these, visit and click on Register; you can also follow links within ResearcherID and Scopus to get and link an ORCID.

Don’t worry too much about the details of your profiles yet, as you should also link your ORCID, with your ResearcherID and your Scopus ID, so information can be shared between them. From your Scopus Author Details Page, click on the “Add to ORCID” link; within ResearcherID, click on “Manage your Profile” and scroll down to the link “get or link an ORCID”. In both cases, follow the prompts, but essentially you’re being asked to give permissions to share your profiles, and will be asked to log in to ORCID as part of this to give legitimacy to the link. With the links set up, you can share your profile and publications data, so it’s only now that you should now start to ensure your profiles are updated. Once this is done, you’ll see Scopus and ResearcherID appearing as “trusted organisations” in your ORCID profile.

Finally, don’t forget to log in to Symplectic ( and share your IDs here too. ORCID is the most important, and in recognition of this you’ll see a banner at the top of your Symplectic page asking you to add your ORCID – click here and follow the prompts. Or you click on “Menu” and choose “Manage – Search Settings” and scroll down, to where you can set source-specific search terms for various data sources including ORCID, Scopus and Web of Science. Click the plus button by each to enter your ORCID ID, Scopus Author ID and ResearcherID, respectively, and you’ll be taken through a process very similar to that you’ve already encountered in linking these profiles together.


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