A key priority for us at ORCID is to make it easier for institutions to add affiliations to the ORCID records of their researchers. Traditionally, it has been necessary for ORCID member organizations to integrate one or more internal systems with the ORCID API in order to add trusted affiliations—a resource-intensive endeavor that is often difficult for institutions to prioritize. This is why we launched our new Affiliation Manager earlier this year, available to all Consortia members.
The Affiliation Manager makes it easy to add affiliation data to ORCID records by simply uploading a CSV file without the need for any technical integration. Utilizing the Affiliation Manager effectively extends the reach of your institutional systems by contributing affiliation and employment information to an open, interconnected repository and helps improve transparency in the understanding of research.
For this blog post, we had a chance to speak with Bob Scott, Director of Special Operations in the University of Georgia (UGA) Graduate School, to better understand UGA’s recent successful implementation of the Affiliation Manager, and how they were able to elicit a high level of engagement with graduate students to register for an ORCID record and grant permission for UGA to write affiliations to their records.
Tracking faculty activities
UGA uses Symplectic Elements—a research management solution that captures and analyzes scholarly and funding activity—to keep track of faculty activities. Students in UGA’s graduate programs use Elements to support their consideration for awards and fellowships, and both faculty and students are encouraged to connect their ORCID iD to Symplectic Elements to create a richer and more robust record of achievements.
Affiliation manager helped UGA adjust to post-pandemic student orientation
Before COVID-19 when graduate student orientation was in-person, Bob Scott was well-versed in giving live presentations about the benefits of creating an ORCID account and linking it to Symplectic Elements. He also notes that upon graduation, students are encouraged to submit their Electronic Theses or Dissertations (ETD) through the ProQuest submission system, which provides a manual entry field for ORCID. When the pandemic hit, student orientation went online, and overall engagement with ORCID decreased.
In order to address this problem and in an attempt to stay connected with students after they leave UGA, Bob developed a plan in 2021 for encouraging ORCID use. Using a system called Slate—UGA’s graduate student application/admission system—Bob was able to gather contact information for every new graduate student.
He then uploaded that information to the ORCID Affiliation Manager, generated unique ORCID authentication links for each student, and used Slate to send out customized individual email messages that contained each student’s unique link.
When graduates grant permission to the Affiliation Manager, it is easy for UGA to push affiliation data to their record, thereby associating them—via a unique organization ID such as ROR—with the institution.
A high level of student engagement
Slate provides the ability to see how many students opened the email and clicked the links. After sending the email, Bob measured the open and click-through rates. About 74% of students opened the email and many of those clicked the link to learn more about ORCID. A smaller percentage took the action of clicking their link to connect their ORCID iD with the Affiliation Manager, but for the first iteration, the approach was deemed a success.
The UGA Graduate School is working with UGA Libraries to develop additional outreach opportunities to better familiarize their students with ORCID and its benefits to increase engagement and encourage more students to create ORCID records.
The importance of affiliations
In our recent blog post about interpreting the trustworthiness of ORCID records, we discussed several reasons why valid records may contain self-asserted affiliation data. Regardless, when an ORCID member organization asserts affiliations to ORCID records with validated workflows such as the Affiliation Manager, they are vouching for the fact that the record holder (in this case, the UGA student) is (or was) indeed affiliated with the organization. By providing provenance information (found in the Source of the assertion), ORCID members using the Affiliation Manager greatly improve the trustworthiness of their researchers’ ORCID records.
If you’re a consortium member who has not yet registered for Affiliation Manager access, we encourage you to reach out.