The Higher School of Economics is introducing new requirements for staff’s personal pages. Our colleagues who conduct research and teach are now required to list the following identifiers on their pages: ORCID, Researcher ID, Scopus Author ID, SPIN-RSCI code, and Google Scholar. Ivan Sterligov, the head of the analytics department in the HSE Office of Academic Expertise, tells us why this will benefit both the university and the researchers themselves.
— Which employees will be required to list these identifiers on their personal pages?
— We would like to see ORCID, Google Scholar, and Researcher ID on the pages of all staff who conduct research and teach. SPIN RSCI is required for those who have published in Russian. The Scopus identifier is slightly more complicated, as it is required only by authors whose publications are indexed in this database. If you have even just a single publication on Scopus, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be affiliated with HSE, then this identifier is required.
— How is this innovation useful and important?
— Identifiers help resolve one of the most important problems in assessing and managing research – a reliable link between the author and his or her publication. Formal metrics are being used more often and in more diverse ways all over the world, including at HSE. Identifiers allow us to establish a definite connection between the author and his or her research and activity. This could not be established using an author’s full name because of problems with people having the same name, names changing after marriage, incomplete names in publications, different transliterations, etc.
There is not yet a unified global database for publications, which is why there are several identifiers. But I believe that in the next 3-5 years, they’ll all be reduced to a single ORCID number. This project brings together the largest publications, the Web of Science and Scopus databases, the SSRN preprint archives, and other leading players in the academic research field – from CERN to CrossRef. We are hoping that RSCI joins this soon. Not only will publications be linked to ORCID, but so too will grants, patents, editorial board memberships, and more. The 16-digit ORCID number is a subset of ISNI, a universal name identifier being developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This number is meant to link all authors to their works as we continue to navigate the digital age.
— Google must play a leading role in the ORCID project...
— Not at all. The only leading scientific data provider that hasn’t really joined ORCID is Google, which for some unknown reason prefers to develop its project, Google Scholar, alone. The company’s representatives stubbornly ignore the international scientometrics community, whereas it’s impossible for researchers to ignore Google. It is currently the most popular system in the world for finding scientific information.
Registering with Google Scholar increases the visibility of your work in the system and allows you to get automatic updates from a wide range of sources when your publications are cited. To link your Google Scholar profile to HSE, you have to enter your @hse.ru email when registering. We also recommend providing a link to your page on the university’s website.
— Is it difficult to join these systems and put this information on your personal page?
— It won’t take more than an hour to get all of the identifiers. All of the systems are equipped with detailed instructions. And for researchers who aren’t yet fluent in English, we’ve prepared detailed instructions in Russian. There are additional instructions on SPIN RSCI on the project’s website (in Russian).
In addition, each faculty and department has qualified assistants, who are able to help you fill in this information. This is who you can contact with any additional questions.
As concerns entering numbers on your user profile, the main thing is to adhere to the number’s format. If you enter a number incorrectly, the system will simply not allow you to complete the operation. The correct format is indicated right on your user profile.
— It is important to enter the identifiers on your page, but is that enough?
— For the time being, we are asking staff to enter only the numbers themselves on their user profiles, as well as a link to Google Scholar. It is highly desirable that the numbers are linked to publications, but this isn’t a must. Just keep in mind that it is in your interest to have accurate data about your publishing activity. Many external organizations are already asking for identifiers. This mostly concerns grant funds and journals, and this will only become more widespread.
— What is HSE planning to do with the identifiers?
— A sea of opportunity lies ahead – from putting the current number of citations for each article on the Web of Science, Scopus, and RSCI on each staff member’s user profile to automatically determining a list of competencies by analyzing key words from all work a researcher has published. It is entirely possible that in the near future staff will not have to enter the publications themselves. Instead, works will be automatically loaded from the Web of Science, Scopus, and RSCI, and the author will just have to check the data for errors. Naturally, authors will still be able to manually enter publications not indexed on these databases.
— What other useful options might researchers see in the future?
— It would be great if there were mention of academic social networking sites like Research Gate and Academia.edu on user profiles. These are the most important channels for scholarly communication, and we cannot ignore them. Thousands of HSE staff and students already have accounts on these systems. All that remains is linking them to the website. These kinds of social networks are, of course, strictly voluntary. But the publication identifiers are still necessary for everyone.