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In this special interview, ORCID’s Katrina Willis talks to Dr. Romero-Olivares, assistant professor at New Mexico State University, about how ORCID has helped contribute to her academic career.
Dr. Romero-Olivares, assistant professor at New Mexico State University, is a soil microbiologist who works at the intersection of ecosystem ecology and evolution. She is interested in understanding how microbes respond and adapt to environmental stress. Her overall research goal is to better understand and plan for ecosystem-scale effects of global climate change.
Dr. Romero-Olivares is originally from Mexico and received her PhD from the University of California Irvine where she investigated the effects of global warming on the soil microbial communities of boreal forests in Alaska. She did a postdoc at the University of New Hampshire where she was a Diversity & Innovation Scholar studying how microbes respond to long-term simulated warming and nitrogen pollution at Harvard Forest.
Dr. Romero-Olivares has this to say about her career: “I study how microbes are responding and adapting to climate change and how that will affect certain biogeochemical cycles. I’m interested in all microbes and how they affect the emission of greenhouse gases, but I have a special love for soil fungi.”
“Growing Up with ORCID”
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Dr. Romero-Olivares also has a special appreciation for ORCID, dating back to the earliest days of her career. “Having an ORCID iD has made things very easy for me because it’s an automated way to compile all of my academic outputs. As academics, we often have to update our CVs, we need to be discoverable, and it’s important for those who find us to see our productivity outputs. With an ORCID iD, people can just click on my record and see everything I’ve done.”
In her Pidapalooza 2021 presentation, Dr. Romero-Olivares talks about her personal experience with name disambiguation. In Latin America, it is customary for a person to have two last names—the first coming from the father and the second from the mother. The two last names are not traditionally hyphenated. Dr. Romero-Olivares’ Master’s advisor recommended she pick one name to avoid confusion. “But I didn’t want to pick one name,” Dr. Romero-Olivares said. “Both names are mine.” Her advisor then suggested she hyphenate her last name instead. If she didn’t, her advisor feared the “Romero” portion of her name would be dropped. Thus, Dr. Romero Olivares became Dr. Romero-Olivares.
When submitting the first manuscript of her career, Dr. Romero-Olivares remembers the submission platform requested (though didn’t require) something called an “ORCID iD.” Dr. Romero-Olivares’ Master’s advisor explained to her what an ORCID iD was and suggested that it would be beneficial for her to have one. “She explained that an ORCID iD would associate me with all my publications even if my name was misrepresented,” said Dr. Romero-Olivares. “That was at the very beginning of my career, and ORCID was fairly new as well. So, ORCID and I have grown up together. Having an ORCID iD throughout my entire career has helped me simplify and streamline my administrative work.”
Dr. Romero-Olivares also uses Publons to populate her new papers and reviews into her ORCID record. “Publons sends me a message to ask if I’d like the information transferred to my ORCID record. All I have to do is grant permission by saying ‘yes.’” Having these integrations keeps her record up-to-date, accurate, and streamlined with very little personal input.
Simplifying Academic Life
Although Dr. Romero-Olivares states that most educational institutions won’t accept an ORCID record in lieu of a CV, she affirms that having an ORCID record makes the whole process of sharing information much easier.
“My ORCID record is continually populated and up-to-date, so sharing my publications with others is a simple matter of copying and pasting. My ORCID record contains my full body of work, so it’s easy to share whatever piece of information or specific publication someone might be interested in.”
Because all the integrations Dr. Romero-Olivares uses are already in place, she finds that very little work goes into maintaining and updating her record. She rarely needs to even log into her account because once she provides her ORCID iD to her publisher, everything is automatically uploaded into her record. “When I publish a paper—which might be a couple of times a year—I log in to allow publishers to access my information and update my record,” Dr. Romero-Olivares says. She also notes that manual affiliation updates aren’t frequently needed unless a researcher moves institutions or changes positions.
A PID-Filled Future
ORCID also makes finding out about other researchers easier. Dr. Romero-Olivares often goes to ORCID first when she wants to find out about another researcher’s country, institution, publications—or even for something as simple as an email address. “Most researchers my age are prolific ORCID users,” she says. “We started our careers when ORCID was just beginning, so we’ve been ‘partnered’ all along.”
When asked how we could make ORCID more valuable to her or how ORCID could make her life even easier, Dr. Romero-Olivares stated that she would find great benefit in universal ORCID adoption within the PID ecosystem. She is sometimes frustrated by the need for other platforms to have their own PIDs when ORCID provides everything she needs. “It’s a good system, it works, and I believe making it the universal go-to would ultimately benefit researchers.”
Dr. Romero-Olivares concludes, “ I feel lucky that ORCID is something I’ve had available to help build my career from the beginning.”
Many thanks to you, Dr. Romero-Olivares for sharing your time and your ORCID experience with us. We wish you continued success in your soil fungi studies.
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