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January 17, 2013 / Damien Irving

Getting credit for the work you do

Most of us working or studying in the weather/climate sciences primarily spend our days undertaking research. This research is typically published in peer review journal articles, which means that our output as a scientist is usually judged by the number of articles that we’ve published, in addition to other factors like the prestige of the journals that the articles appear in and the number of citations that they generate (see a previous post for details of the metrics used to rank scientists according to their publication history).

Given this reality, it is important to ensure that when a future employer or collaborator searches your publication history, all relevant articles are captured. If your surname is something like Smith, Brown, or Wang, then this is not a trivial problem. A search on Google Scholar or Web of Science might bring up thousands of articles matching your surname and first initial. In an attempt to address this problem, a number of Unique Author Identifier systems have been launched, based on the simple idea of giving every researcher their own unique barcode. This idea is much like the Digital Object Identifier (DOI), which is used to uniquely identify objects such as written documents (e.g. journal articles, books, etc) and datasets. However, while the use of DOIs in identifying such objects is widespread and universally accepted, the same cannot be said for unique author identification. A number of systems exist, and the practice is not yet widely used (see Fenner 2011 for a detailed description of why that is).

Which system should you use then? Well, as discussed in a couple of recent Nature articles (Editorial, 16 December 2009; Butler 2012), the system that appears most likely to become universally accepted is the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID). It’s therefore probably a worthwhile exercise to create an account (e.g. I’ve done that here). However, since much of the functionality on ORCID author pages is not yet available, I possibly wouldn’t advise using that page as the primary advertisement for your research just yet. Instead, I’d be sticking to ResearcherID (see a detailed post on this here), until the ORCID pages undergo further development.

Ok, so you’ve got an ORCID and ResearcherID account, so your publication history is covered. ORCID will eventually have the functionality to list research grants, so that’s covered too. But what about getting credit for the other things you do as a research scientist? Well, an exciting development in this area relates to the journal Nature, whereby reviewers can now download a statement of the number of papers they have refereed for the journal (Editorial, 2 January 2013). If in a given year you referee three or more papers, you even receive a formal letter acknowledging your contribution and a free journal subscription. Hopefully this practice will spread to other journals soon, because not all of us are senior enough to be invited to review Nature papers!


One Comment

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  1. drclimate / Mar 27 2013 08:40

    You can now link your ORCID and ResearcherID author pages:

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