Digital Scholarship@Leiden

Flowers make the scholar: about ORCID and Google Scholar Citations

Flowers make the scholar: about ORCID and Google Scholar Citations

Last week we talked about the importance of persistent identifiers. This week we'll be taking a closer look at two of them: ORCID and Google Scholar Citations.

Last week we talked about the importance of persistent identifiers. There are four different big "brands" out there: ORCID, Google Scholar Citations, Scopus Author ID, and ResearcherID. All of them are useful, but do different things. In the coming two weeks I'll be taking a closer look at each of them. This week the focus is on ORCID and Google Scholar Citations and next week on Scopus Author ID and ResearcherID.


The Open Researcher & Contributor ID or ORCID is an international, non-profit organisation, who decided that a lasting, wide-accepted author identifier system would have to be created by a non-commercial, independent entity on the basis of open source principles and transparency. It is run by a board composed of members drawn from universities, publishers, and funding organisations.

ORCID is freely available to every individual researcher, who can claim their ID, keep their information current and manage their record of activities, whether these activities are publishing a new article, making your data available on Figshare, or whether it is a presentation--ORCID supports over thirty different expressions of scholarly activity. ORCID provides a very granular level of privacy controls, allowing the user to display as much, or as little, as they want. This will allow the researcher to be easily identifiable and disambiguated from others with similar names or to take any spelling variations into account.

There are multiple members, called Trusted Parties that, with your permission, can retrieve your data and import it into their system, for example when you need to fill out a manuscript submission form or a grant application. There are also several publishers who are integrating ORCIDs into the articles they publish. You can import your works by linking your ResearcherID and your Scopus Author ID, which also makes it easy to keep your publications list up to date. You can also have your ORCID push your data to other trusted parties, such as Impact Story, who can then give you information about the impact of your work.

Google Scholar Citations

Google Scholar Citations is part of Google Scholar, the academic search engine provided by Google. Citations allows you to create a profile and claim your publications. While Google Scholar Citations is a free product, as is Google Scholar itself, Google is most certainly a for-profit company, which makes the continued existence of Google Scholar and Google Scholar Citations somewhat unpredictable since it is unclear how it is profitable to Google. They might decide to discontinue the service at any time.

While Google provides you with a list of articles they believe is yours when you set up your profile, you'll need to manually add any missing ones and delete those that aren't actually yours. You'll also need to periodically review your publications list to see whether your latest publications have been added or whether you've been linked to work that isn't yours.

One of the big advantages of Google Scholar Citations is that it allows you to easily keep track of citations of your work and your h-index and i10-index. It also provides a graph of your citation numbers, so you can see citations per year. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the citation analysis Google Scholar Citations provides is exhaustive, as Google Scholar is only able to index articles found on websites that confirm to their technology guidelines and that allow them to sift through their data. Additionally, policy documents, which are valid sources for citations and impact deduction aren't included in Google Scholar's database.