Earlier this year, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) hosted the ORCID Austria workshop in Vienna in cooperation with ORCID and “e-infrastructures Austria Plus”. About 60 participants from 25 Austrian institutions learned about the advantages of ORCID membership and the integration of ORCID iDs into university repositories, CRIS, and personnel systems.
In addition to presentations by ORCID staff, the workshop also included experiences and solutions of other countries and institutions. The presentations from Swiss and German ORCID members provided new perspectives about ORCID integration for institutions, and also rationale for establishing a national consortium. A presentation by Ulrike Krießmann from the Graz University of Technology demonstrated how they collected ORCID iDs from their researchers using their CRIS system. Since many Austrian research institutions are interested in integrating ORCID into their systems as a service for their researchers, the TU Graz example was very important.
Christian Gutknecht of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), talked about the Swiss experience with ORCID. In 2014, the University of Bern became the first research organization in Switzerland to join ORCID as an organizational member. They were soon followed by a number of other organizations, and there ensued in 2015 a discussion about establishing a Swiss national ORCID consortium. This did not come to pass, as the question of which institution should act as the consortium lead organization was not resolved. Currently, thirteen Swiss institutions – including seven research organizations, two funders and four publishers – are ORCID members.
Gutknecht also presented an update on the ORCID Funder Working Group and the ORBIT project (ORCID Reducing Burden and Improving Transparency), which aims to use persistent identifiers to improve the exchange of information between and within the different funder systems and databases. He noted that, in line with ORCID best practices, the SNSF requests ORCID iDs from their grant applicants. The Austrian national funder FWF (Austrian Science Fund) goes farther and has required ORCID iDs since 2016.
During the roundtable session, meeting participants discussed the possibility of creating an Austrian ORCID consortium and the coordination of such an infrastructure in Austria. The presentation on the German consortium ORCID-DE by Paul Vierkant offered helpful insights and advice. ORCID-DE has obtained funding from DFG for the period 2016-2019 to support this initiative. In addition to setting up a national contact point, and the BASE integration with ORCID, one of the other goals of the ORCID-DE consortium is to integrate ORCID with the GND (Gemeinsame Norm Datei), the international authority file of names managed by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Vierkant also described the legal opinion commissioned by ORCID-DE to analyse ORCID from a data protection aspect. ORCID-DE had 41 members in May 2018, with numerous other institutions interested in joining.
New ORCID members in Austria and next steps
The workshop has been an important starting step for connecting stakeholders in the Austrian research community and establishing ORCID as the identifier for researchers. Subsequently, the University of Vienna and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) have joined ORCID as institutional members. Both universities plan to soon integrate ORCID into their CRIS systems so that their researchers can connect their iDs. There are now four Austrian ORCID members — three universities and the FWF. A minimum of five are needed for a national consortium.
In June “e-infrastructures Austria Plus” sent out a questionnaire to all workshop attendees from Austrian institutions about their interest in joining a national ORCID consortium. So far, six institutions have expressed their interest in joining and many more have expressed a general interest in ORCID. “e-infrastructures Austria Plus” will continue to help coordinate the Austrian research institutions and support the formation of an ORCID consortium. A top priority is to identify a consortium lead organization.
We’ll keep you updated on progress!
Anna-Laetitia Hikl is a CRIS Manager at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences – BOKU.