Picture of Anneliese Taylor
Anneliese Taylor
Anneliese is the Head of Scholarly Communication. Contact Anneliese for help evaluating journals and publishers, assessing research impact, and for scholarly publishing resources.

Why do I need an ORCID identifier?

You might have heard of ORCID and wondered whether it applies to you. Or perhaps you already have an ORCID profile but haven’t yet filled it in.

ORCID identifiers (iDs) are unique digital identifiers that distinguish individual researchers and that can be used to connect researchers with their professional contributions over time and across changes of name, location, and institutional affiliation. These free, 16-digit identifiers are assigned and maintained by the non-profit organization ORCID.

ORCID and publishers and funding agencies

So why would a UCSF student, staff, or faculty member need an iD? Display of ORCID iDs has been widely adopted by publishers and research databases such as PubMed, Web of Science, and Dimensions, which means they are seen by searchers around the world. Having an iD and maintaining your contributions in it helps ensure that all of your published writings, code, and data are correctly associated with you throughout your career. Your profile can also be used to showcase your education, employment, grants and awards, all types of scholarly works, and peer review you’ve performed. Visibility permissions are controlled by you for every piece of information you add to your profile.

In addition to many journals requiring its authors to have ORCID iDs, NIH is increasingly requiring awardees to have an iD. Starting on January 25, 2020, individuals who apply for fellowship, research education, and career development awards from the NIH, AHRQ, and CDC must link to their ORCID iD in order for their application to be reviewed. This requirement is already in place as of October 2019 for some trainees, fellows, and participants appointed through the xTrain system. See the specific awards that are affected on this NIH Notice, and how to link ORCID to eRA Commons.


UCSF became an institutional member of ORCID in September 2019, and is exploring integration of campus systems with ORCID. ORCID iDs have been added to UCSF Profiles, and UCSF students and personnel can sign in to an existing ORCID account using their MyAccess account. To see more about the benefits of ORCID, as well as tips for building your profile, visit orcid.ucsf.edu.

Have questions? Interested in helping get the word out about ORCID? The Library is collaborating with the Research Development Office, CTSI, the Graduate Division, the School of Medicine, and others to coordinate ORCID implementation and outreach at UCSF. Contact us!