ORCID’s consortia program was launched in late 2014, with the goal of helping ORCID adoption and integration to scale nationally and regionally. ORCID consortia – groups of five or more not-for-profit organizations from a single country – qualify for an increasingly deep member fee discount (depending on size) that effectively allows them to benefit from premium membership for around the cost of basic membership. We provide this discount to encourage the development of communities of practice around the world, led by our consortia partners.
Three years later, and with 457 (63%) of our members now joining through consortia, we wanted to learn more about their experiences and expectations of ORCID. In particular, we wanted to establish how well they understand – and have committed to helping us meet – our goal of developing national and regional ORCID communities of practice that will enable researchers to spend more timing making contributions and less time managing them
Our consortia survey was open between May 10 – June 28, 2017, and was sent to contacts at all 16 (at that time) ORCID consortia lead organizations. Sixteen people, representing 12 consortia, responded to the survey.
What did we learn?
- The reasons for forming a consortium varied widely, and were related to how the consortium viewed their role in providing support staff. Discounted ORCID membership was #1 (ranked 2.67 of a possible 3), closely followed by achieving economies of scale through a coordinated approach to using ORCID among consortium members, and increased awareness of ORCID by researchers and others (both 2.33/3)
- Most consortia had specific goals for their consortium, but many didn’t have a formal policy document or governing body to enable tracking their progress toward achieving those goals
- Embedding identifiers in research workflows and information systems is a central goal of ORCID consortia members. Research information management (RIM) systems and institutional repositories were the most popular integration types, with some consortia taking a centralized approach and others a more distributed approach.
- Respondents viewed the main barriers to increasing adoption of ORCID in their community as a more or less equal mix of social and technological challenges, including engagement of researchers, access to IT resources, and support by vendor systems.
- Outreach is a core function of ORCID consortia, and several respondents reported improvements in community engagement after consortium launch, through a variety of outreach programs
- ORCID provides a number of resources and services to our community. Consortia appreciated the quality of our staff interactions, but would like easier access to outreach resources and more help facilitating communication between members and consortia about effective practices
Both ORCID and our consortia have room for improvement, and we are committed to working with our consortia partners to develop successful ORCID communities of practice. We are taking action in four key areas to start to address these needs:
- Documentation. We have already started to make improvements to our documentation and materials, including the recent launch of our new education and outreach materials for users
- Policy. We will shortly be updating the membership pages on our website to clarify our expectations of and commitment to consortia, as well as updating our consortium membership agreement and introducing an onboarding checklist
- Community. We are launching an annual face-to-face event for consortia leaders, starting with our first consortium workshop in Lisbon, Portugal in January 2018. We will continue conversations started at these workshops on our online community forum
- Administration. To help consortia more quickly and easily share and manage information about their members, we are currently beta-testing new functionality that provides real-time access to our member management platform
The full consortia survey report is available in the ORCID repository