After eight years of living and breathing the world of research infrastructure and persistent identifiers, I have decided to step back and allow myself to take a broader view. That’s right: I am leaving ORCID. Read more / listen to the symphony that is ORCID.
Sonata: What’s up? | 4 Non Blondes
I started at ORCID eight years ago as its first full-time employee. I had recently gone through a start-up merger and acquisition and was looking for a new adventure. ORCID was “a great big hill of hope,” for sure. We made an early decision to operate as a virtual office, intentionally testing approaches and tools to enable global-scale adoption. Collaborative from the start, our work to establish membership agreements involved prospective members, Board members, legal counsel, and staff. Back-office processes—staff handbook, payroll, accounting—we developed in consultation with colleagues in nonprofits and small business. We partnered with organizations to test our APIs and build integrations that co-launched with the Registry. All that in the first six months! This was possible because the founding Board had hammered out principles, mission, and governance—and some start-up funding. Having those fundamentals in place provided a clear arena for decision-making and made it possible to get the motors running.
Credits and Acknowledgements: Thank you to Founding ORCID Board chair, Howard Ratner; and to David Kochalko, Simeon Warner, Bernie Rous, and Craig van Dyck for inviting me to interview; and to the founding Board for their partnership. Thanks to Laura Paglione for joining the wild ride as the second employee, for her trust and unbounding energy and good sense, and for making the Registry launch happen. Thanks to Jackie Ewenstein for her counsel. Thanks to our launch partners for sticking with us through the launch. Thanks to Wally Schaffer, Walt Warnick, and Liz Allen for getting ORCID in front of research funders.
Adagio: Sweet Dreams | Eurythmics
Before I took the Executive Director role, I asked my kids (then 8 and 10) how they’d feel about me “traveling the world and the seven seas.” It was a fine spring day and we were scooting about in my red Mini with the top down (it’s all about the presentation). With their enthusiastic support, I packed my bag and hit the road. The time after the launch of the ORCID Registry was amazing—to see user registrations grow to 50,000 in the first few months and welcoming our first members. We concentrated on demonstrations—through partnerships on the European Commission-funded ODIN and THOR projects, the Alfred P Sloan Foundation-funded Adoption and Integration Program, which spawned similar projects in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. From a Gira por España to a round-the-world trip starting in the UK, through Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, China, New Zealand, and Australia…. I learned how to pack one carry-on for all seasons, but more importantly, listen and learn from the community their pain points and hopes for ORCID. I was (and still am) impressed by the openness of the research community, your interest in engaging with ORCID, and your ability to push the boundaries to evolve how research information is shared.
Credits and Acknowledgements: Thank you to Catalina Wilmers for her excellent work helming our Help Desk, to Rob Peters for creating an independent tech stack and making sure I didn’t get distracted on Slack, and to Will Simpson for utter dependability. Thanks to Ed Pentz for his leadership as ORCID Board chair. Thanks to Susan Stickley for leading us through scenario planning. Thanks to Chris Shillum for asking hard questions. Thanks to Joåo Moreira, Jo McEntyre, Liz Allen (both of you), Consol Garcia, Rebecca Bryant, Josh Brown, Josh Greenberg, Neil Jacobs, Sally Rumsey, Wolfram Horstmann, Martin Fenner, Mummi Thorisson, Andy Mabbett, Torsten Reimer, our A&I program participants, and soooo many many more for believing in the mission!
Minuet: Uptown Funk | Mark Ronson
How to scale operations to meet demand is a common challenge of all new ventures. Is our value clear? Can we generate enough revenue to support what we want to do in the timeframe we would like? Do we need to speed up or slow down? Enter our “Don’t believe it? Just watch!” era. We iterated through a series of consortial membership models, with the goal of blending local context with global implementation standards and technical support. For this to really work, we needed to make our virtual office global. With the support of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, we were able to build out our team to support local engagement. What a huge difference that made! We welcomed our first consortia in Denmark, then UK and Italy, followed by Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany… and now have over 20. In addition to expanding our global reach, we also expanded the types of connections we supported, making more visible the broad range of contributions that researchers make and their affiliations and credentials. We partnered with Hypothes.is on open annotations. We partnered with F1000 on Peer Review standards. We partnered with publishers on an open letter supporting ORCID integration in publishing workflows. We partnered with Crossref and DataCite to enable ORCID record updates. We partnered with the US Department of Energy and publishers on research resources. We partnered on open identifiers for organizations. We partnered with research funders around the world on use of identifiers in funding workflows.
Credits and Acknowledgements: Thank you to Brooke Rosenzweig, Dan Whaley, Rebecca Lawrence; Nobuko Miyairi, Matt Buys, Alice Meadows, Doug Wright, and the rest of the amazing ORCID “Class of 2015”; Natasha Simons, Adrian Burton, Clinton Watson, Stuart Taylor, Clifford Tatum, Patricia Cruse, Andrew Cormack, Crystal Schrof, Erin Arndt, Susan White DePace, Terry Law, Neil Thakur, Rick Ikeda, and many many more. Thanks for getting into the details with us and showing how open infrastructure CAN be done.
Allegro: Marathon | Rush
ORCID is as much about our values as the service we provide to the community. We care deeply about sustainability, in all its forms. “It is not how fast you go. It is more than the finish line.” I am so pleased by how ORCID has developed and grown into an essential component of the global research infrastructure. There is global and cross-disciplinary adoption of ORCID by researchers. You, our members—funders, publishers, research institutions, and technology platforms—have implemented ORCID in hundreds of systems, making it possible for researchers to easily share their information with openness and transparency. The community and our team at ORCID together make ORCID sustainable. With our community as essential partners, I have confidence in the strength and resilience of ORCID and our continued progress toward realizing the vision we set out to accomplish: a world where all who participate in research, scholarship, and innovation are uniquely identified and connected to their contributions across disciplines, borders, and time.
Credits and Acknowledgements: Thank you to Veronique Kiermer for her service and mentorship as ORCID Board Chair, to Meg Buzzi for the right thing at the right time, to Tom Demeranville for defining “done,” to Sarah Hershberger for making financials flow, to Ivo Wijnbergen and Julie Petro for embracing the leadership firehose, to Liz Krznarich for making sure we keep thinking outside the box, to Angel Montenegro for being always an inspiration, to Brian Minihan for his malarkey as a fellow midwesterner, and to the entire ORCID team. Thanks to all of our Consortium lead organizations and tireless community managers. Thanks to Ben Brown and Carly Robinson and so many more for making the ORCID vision a reality. You all rock!
Coda: Even in the Quietest Moments | Supertramp
I have truly enjoyed working with all of you to foster the ORCID community. “Your laughter brings me joy.” I have learned so much and am inspired by your commitment. You challenge us to be inclusive, to live up to our values, and to serve you with integrity and processes that ensure trust and transparency for years to come. It has been my pleasure and privilege to have been a part of the ORCID journey with you!
As my symphony with ORCID comes to its end, the organization is starting its next one. My next part? I am taking a break to enjoy the music and explore the polyphony of individual, team, and community responsibilities and rights in collaborative change efforts. I am planning a new venture to help public good start-ups develop foundational principles and to guide organizations in adapting to and adopting virtual workspaces. Stay tuned!