A question we get often is, what happens when/if a second ORCID iD is created for the same person? As a matter of policy, ORCID does not absolutely prevent multiple iDs/records from being intentionally created and maintained by an individual, though we have put into place a number of policies and practices to prevent duplicates from being created unintentionally, or to merge records when they do.
Preventing duplicates on new iD creation
When a new registration is received, the ORCID system first searches the ORCID database for matching name-email address combinations. If the email used is already in the database as a primary or alternate address, it will prevent creation. If the emails don’t match, though there are others with the same name, the database returns an “Is this you?” message to the requestor with a list of potential matches.
Don’t remember your password? Don’t create another iD!
ORCID provides automated assistance for forgotten passwords. Rather than be tempted to create another iD, users may click on the “Forgotten Password” link on any Registry sign-in page to receive a password reset email message. If you don’t receive an email or have lost access to the email account associated with your ORCID record, our support team can help.
Include ALL email addresses
Since ORCID iD duplicate prevention has its roots in email matches, ORCID makes it possible to associate multiple email addresses with a single ORCID record, both in the user interface and in the API. Even past emails or other forms of an address can be included to help ensure that a duplicate iD is not unintentionally created. We have encouraged researchers and member organizations creating records on behalf of their researchers to add both personal and professional email addresses to ORCID records to ensure that the ORCID system can be effective at locating an existing record and prevent creation of a duplicate. In all cases, each email address included has its own privacy setting, and ORCID will not share any email or other information that is marked private by the user.
Managing unintentional duplicates when they happen
Despite the controls we have in place, there will be times when a duplicate will be unintentionally created. For these situations, the ORCID Support team can help users with multiple records to mark one ORCID iD as a primary one, and the other iD as deprecated. Because ORCID identifiers are designed to be persistent, obsolete iDs will be deprecated, not deleted. The record associated with a deprecated iDs contains only a pointer to the primary record. Accessing a deprecated ORCID record redirects the requestor to the primary record, both in the user interface and the API. An example of a deprecated record is at https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6151-2200.
Also of note:
- Access granted by a user on a record that has been deprecated does not transfer to the related primary record. Members will need to request that the user re-grant authorization with their primary ORCID iD.
- ORCID relies on individuals to report duplicate records. We will assist users with combining their own records. We will also take into consideration reports from the community about potential duplicates or incorrect data. In either case, users should contact the ORCID Support team to report an issue and include the ORCID identifiers of the records in question. In the event that data in a Record may need to be corrected, we will follow our published Dispute Procedures.
- Once combined, ORCID records can NOT be restored to their original state. For this reason we are conservative about deprecating/combining records, and require proof of ownership and authorization from the iD holder before apparent duplicates are managed.