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Understanding ORCID

This guide provides information about ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier) and its utility for researchers at the Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC) and in other parts of VDOT.


It has grown increasingly difficult to:

  • Track different forms of a researcher’s name across different information systems;
  • Distinguish between different researchers with the same or very similar names;
  • Identify ALL scholarly works associated with a specific researcher.

Researcher names can be ambiguous for many reasons. People who have published under common names, maiden names, abbreviations, or names including non-Roman characters may encounter difficulties in being discovered online. ORCIDs clarify this ambiguity by providing a unique identifier for each an every researcher.

The following example illustrates the number of ways that a single person's name could be rendered in publications and research outputs.(Slide by Mogens Sandfær of DEFF).

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