The Open Researcher and Contributer Identifier is a repository in development to help solve problems of name ambiguity and attribution in the realm of scholarly research. For those who work with digital objects and their metadata, we have seen this problem grow increasingly out of control. Some institutions like Cornell invested in name disambiguation with their tool arXiv. But others are still trying to digitize and make rare research available on the web. This is where ORCID can help budding and nth generation digital repositories.
Basically, ORCID’s mission is to provide a link between various systems of name disambiguation (like Scopus, arXiv, SSRN, LCNAC, PubMed, VIAF, etc.) and link these under one ORCID identifier for authors. This repository is under the governance of a Board of Directors (think OCLC, Harvard University, Wiley, CrossRef, Thomson Reuters, and many others in both librarianship and publishing. The hope is to make this service free for researchers who would like to create a profile and take ownership of their online scholarly identity. For libraries, there will be “value added services” such as integration with partner systems. For example, if you use ContentDM, there might be a future service to match names in your collections against ORCID providing name disambiguation. Another example is that researchers can use this service to keep track of their publications and their contributions in addition to seek out new colleagues for research.
Martin Fenner poster this great introduction to ORCID: http://www.orcid.org/documents/introduction-orcid.
This is a service still in development and is something to definitely keep an eye out for the beta version.