Author identifiers

Author identifiers

Author identifiers are unique identifiers assigned to researchers to prevent the author ambiguity problem within the scholarly community because of researchers having the same first and last names. The benifits of such a system are:

  • Less ambiguity as to who has published a certain paper when different variations of an author’s name have been used
  • Ability to accurately measure citations of individual papers or authors
  • Easier evaluation of an author’s productivity and impact in his/her field
  • Simplified data handling and storage; author identification only has to be stored in one place
  • Richer cross-referencing possible, e.g., search engines, browsers, and other applications can create links between an author’s biographical information and his/her published works
  • Opportunity to create new networks of data, e.g. academic genealogies

There are several author identifiers, the most used systems are ORCID and ResearcherID.


Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) is in many respects distinctive from other author identifier initiatives. ORCID is a non-profit organization funded by institutional memberships, research funders, and a wide variety of research organizations and publishers. ORCID endeavors to solve the name ambiguity problem in research and scholarly communication through a central registry of unique identifiers for individual researchers and an open and transparent linking mechanism between ORCID and current researcher ID schemes [Ref UL Chicago].

ORCID supports automated linkages of researcher’s output activities and aims to improve the efficiency of research funding and collaboration within the research community. One of the elements which distinguishes ORCID from other initiatives is that ORCID aims to get into the workflow of a researcher as early as possible, for example at the stage of article or grant submission. Registration for an ORCID is free.


The ResearcherID - provided by Thomson Reuters - enables researchers to manage their publication lists, track their times cited counts and h-index, identify potential collaborators and avoid author misidentification.

ResearcherID information integrates with the Web of Science and is ORCID compliant. Like other identifier systems a unique identifier is assigned to each person who creates a ResearcherID account. The registration for a ResearcherID is free of charge.


International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI). The ISNI International Authority (ISNI-IA) assigns a persistent identifier to the public name(s) of a researcher, inventor, writer, artist, performer, publisher, etc.

ISNI-IA contributes to resolve the problem of name ambiguity in search and discovery and helps to diffuse assigned ISNI’s - wherever that work is described - so that every published work can be unambiguously attributed to its creator. ISNI clearly has a broader scope than most other initiatives mentioned. Like ORCID, the importance of ISNI is growing for further development of national and international research infrastructures. You can search on the ISNI website if there already is an ISNI for your name.

It is not possible to request an ISNI at this moment. In the near future, ISNI's will be automaticallty generated for authors that already have a DAI.


The Digital Author Identifier (DAI) is a unique national number assigned to individual researchers employed at Dutch universities and research institutes. The DAI is linked to the Dutch author-name thesaurus (Nationale Thesaurus Auteursnamen, NTA).

If you want to know whether you have a DAI or not, you can search in NARCIS for your name. If you click on your name your DAI will be displayed.