Everything we do at ORCID is in service of our underlying belief that, by working together with all sectors of the global research community — disparate as their priorities and cultures often are — we can facilitate conversations that help increase the openness and reliability of research information. We are engaging in these conversations using a “community of practice” conceptual approach.
Communities of Practice
“Community” and “community of practice” are frequently used terms, to the point that their definitions are unclear. To best understand ORCID’s approach, we can look to the origins of the concept in the education field, where communities of practice must have three features in common: a domain, a community, and practice. The domain is what a group is interested in learning more about or trying to resolve; the community is how this group will interact and share resources related to the domain. With these two features in common, a “community of interest” is born. When the members are also practitioners and use their expertise in the community, and in service of the domain, there is a community of practice.
There are several types of communities of practice in the research domain. One that most researchers are familiar with is the scholarly association. Members of an association share a common interest in learning more about their discipline (the domain); they interact through in-person events and online groups (the community); and they use and share their expertise in the field to enable the development of new knowledge (the practice).
ORCID as a Community of Practice
ORCID’s mission – our domain – is to enable interoperability between research information systems. Our structure as a non-profit, and governance by a balance of sectors, ensures that we are responsive to shared interests of the broader research community, including publishers, funders, and universities – our community. This unique orientation creates opportunities for ORCID to facilitate cross-community interaction that strengthens both the technology and communication of research information-sharing – our practice.
As a community of practice, we face many of the same challenges that our members around the world encounter. ORCID drive collective involvement of stakeholders across sectors with the purpose of building practice from interest. To sustain the community, members need to experience the benefits of participating. This can be a challenge, as the priorities of each community can be different, even within sectors and regions. There is no single global approach that can provide the specific tools and approaches needed for all members. Communities need to identify the workflows by segment and align to the needs within their context.
ORCID Regional Strategies
From a global perspective, the research community largely recognizes the interdependency of ORCID adoption by researchers and implementation of ORCID in research information systems to achieve the ultimate goal of information-sharing. But organizations want to contribute to and gain value from information interoperability in different ways, so we have developed strategies to learn from – and respond to – those unique barriers and opportunities within regions and sectors. ORCID consortia are a key component of these strategies.
ORCID consortia develop in existing communities of practice and at intersections of communities in one country or sector. We have recently discussed how ORCID consortia contribute to a national vision of improved open infrastructure (here and here). Building consortia into our regional strategies allows us to support a specific community of practice and to consider that community in a regional context. This translates into improved communication and collaboration, more effective ORCID implementation, and opportunities to recognize and share the passion that our stakeholders bring to building research information infrastructure work.
Look for more on our blog soon, about how our regional teams will be working with you to build communities of practice!