The word “provenance” has become trendy in recent years, particularly among purveyors of fine food and wine in shops and restaurants in the English-speaking world. It refers to something’s place of origin and is often used to market artisan goods. Of course, knowing the origins of products helps consumers develop trust in these goods and know they are purchasing something authentic and of high quality. In the world of open research, ORCID helps the entire community foster greater trust in the authenticity and quality of research outputs around the world by highlighting researcher credibility and funding sources. However, there are some cases that even those familiar with ORCID may be unaware of when it comes to how ORCID iDs are used to uphold the highest standards of research integrity.
Ripeta’s role in building trust
Dr. Leslie McIntosh (ORCID: 0000-0002-3507-7468) is the founder and CEO of Ripeta and was familiar with ORCID from the beginning. Ripeta is a technology company that assesses, designs, and disseminates practices and measures to improve the reproducibility and trust of science with minimal burden on scientists. Ripeta focuses on assessing the quality of reporting and the robustness of the authors and scientific method through its main product: Ripeta preCheck. The organization was founded on the need to check reproducibility of science to ensure research integrity and trust in output—hence its name Ripeta, which means “repeat” in Italian.
Fundamental to Ripeta’s commitment to research integrity, something it of course shares with ORCID, is that the credibility of a scientific paper can be summarized with two broad categories of trust: transparency and reproducibility. In order for authors to exhibit these qualities, they must include specific elements in their paper:
- Transparency: A manuscript should uphold ethical considerations through credible authorship, transparent affiliations, and necessary statements.
- Reproducibility: The author should share as much relevant data, code, and methods as they can while maintaining the ethical considerations of the study.
Making a mark
Verifying information, and thereby engendering trust, is a key challenge for both ORCID and Ripeta, and both organizations have utilized trust markers to strengthen their value to the research community. For ORCID, in recent years there has been a move towards using trust markers to interpret data in ORCID records. For Ripeta, being able to identify indicators of trust in published research is critical, as Dr. McIntosh laid out in a blog for the Scholarly Kitchen. As part of its services, Ripeta is able to check an author’s history for any potential research integrity flags. To do so, it uses trust markers related to ORCID in the following ways:
- Ensure that any ORCID iD provided by an author is correctly formatted and exists in the ORCID database.
- Check the author linked to the ORCID record has validated their email address with ORCID.
- Check the institution provided for the author is in their list of employers in the ORCID record (if publicly visible).
- Check the email address provided for the author is in the list of email addresses in their ORCID record (but only if publicly visible).
- Check the completeness of an author’s ORCID record based on analysis of their publication record.
- Check whether the author has previously published peer-reviewed work according to their ORCID record.
- Check whether an ORCID iD provided by an author matches the ORCID iD associated with that author in their previous publications.
An example of using ORCID alongside other markers was the recent case investigated by Ripeta and Dr. McIntosh and reported in Retraction Watch, where an author was discovered to have plagiarized at least 60 articles.
Research integrity for the long haul
In the latest of a long list of research and publishing integrity scandals, Retraction Watch recently reported that over 100 articles were due to be retracted from a high-profile megajournal. In the conclusion to the report, one of the interviewees recommended cross-industry collaboration, as breaches were getting more and more difficult to detect. By working together and having a shared commitment to the highest standards of research integrity, ORCID and Ripeta play a part in such collaborations to uphold research integrity.
Note from ORCID about public vs. member APIs
In keeping with our values of openness, trust, and inclusivity, it’s important to ORCID that the publicly-available data in our registry is accessible for non-commercial applications across the wider research community through the public API*, including valuable, trust-building internal data processing pipelines like Ripeta preCheck. Through the public API, even organizations that are not ORCID members can collect validated ORCID iDs for individuals through the OAUTH process. This eliminates the need to ask researchers to manually enter their ORCID iDs and ensures administrators get the correct ORCID iD for the researcher and that the information on that record reflects their research activities.
ORCID Membership carries added benefits, namely access to the Member API which allows bidirectional integration with our registry. This means that in addition to collecting validated ORCID iDs members also have the ability to write data to researchers’ records.
Learn more about the workflows that can help organizations implement ORCID iDs in their sector, as well as our tiered membership model with a suite of options depending on size and type of organization.
*Learn more about our Terms of Service for our Public API here.