Digital Scholarship@Leiden

Willem van Boom on ORCID and other author identifiers

Willem van Boom on ORCID and other author identifiers

This week I interview Professor Willem van Boom on the subject of ORCID and other author identifiers. He has some great insights to share.

Willem van Boom is a professor of private law at Leiden Law School. I met him last year when he approached me to talk about altmetrics, bibliometrics and other ways to measure quality and impact. When I was thinking about who to interview on ORCID and other author identifiers, his was the first name that sprang to mind. He had some great answers to share and an interesting perspective on the use of author identifiers.

Why did you decide to claim an ORCID ID?

As a legal scholar, I am really obsessed with the fact that in legal science there are no shared ideas on what constitutes measurable quality and impact. Lawyers do not have proper rules on what counts as good or bad scholarly output – we tend to work with anecdotal reputation as a gauge for quality. Am not decided yet whether that is a good or bad thing but one of the reasons for claiming the ID was to find out how other disciplines organize themselves in terms of information flow. So, basically, I was curious to find out how ORCID works, what it gives in return and what it would offer me personally.

Do you think it's equally important to all research disciplines?

I am sure it isn’t. In fact, I guess that for lawyers the relevance is currently rather limited. That is because of the fact that a lot of legal scholars tend to publish in local Dutch journals run by local publishers. This is a highly national market without a proper connection to any of these IDs and websites. Another reason is that international law journals and publishers are not part either of the publishers’ network of which ORCID is part. So, the market for legal publications, both nationally and internationally, is pretty much unconnected to initiatives such as ORCID. But things are gradually changing in legal science and perhaps law journals will also enter this network at some point in time.

What value does your ORCID ID add for you?

It adds to online exposure of your work. People can track and trace you, may pick up on your scholarly work and even contact you for exchange of insights or invitations for projects. So, all of these online IDs, sites and networks help to build an online presence and a network of scholars in my research area. Furthermore, ORCID may also prove valuable when submitting to journals. A bit like using your Facebook account to login to certain sites.

Does it take up much time to keep your information current?

Well, that is one of the drawbacks of jumping on board of these initiatives: you need to keep track of so many login and password details and you need to update all of your profiles. So, there is a tipping point where the returns gradually diminish... My suggestion would be: try out all of them and then develop your online presence strategy based on what returns they offer. I personally only update the most essential bits with some of these sites.

In addition to your ORCID ID, have you claimed your Scopus Author ID, Google Scholar Citations profile, and ResearcherID? Do you actively monitor them?

Yes, I do. It presents a better picture of who picks up my ideas and it also gives me a clearer idea of what types of ‘outlet’ work better than others. For instance, it has showed me that my openly accessible publications harvest much more citations than the work that remains behind paywalls. For example, if I want to have a scholarly impact on – say – Indonesian scholars, who to some extent share a common legal background and are therefore interested in what Dutch legal scholars produce, I should not publish in books which can only be bought at a ludicrously high price. And to be fair, this does not only apply to Indonesian colleagues but to scholars worldwide. So, actively monitoring all these IDs and websites works out really well for me. It also gives me an edge over my colleagues!

Do you have any tips or tricks for researchers first claiming their ORCID ID?

Do not forget your password....