[Taxacom] Forcing ORCID on researchers

Shorthouse, David davidpshorthouse at gmail.com
Mon Dec 7 10:55:25 CST 2020


> Actually, Scratchpads do not require ORCID to log in and they are able to link specimens to both collectors and "determiners". Part of what you redeveloped as Bionomia was already part of Scratchpads' concept. Maybe it would be productive to everyone that Bionomia and Scratchpads join efforts. That would eliminate Bionomia's infrastructure costs and maybe improve the Scratchpads' people and specimens modules.

That may be, but Scratchpads has a login & there is storage of
usernames and passwords, which are tokens of identity, albeit in a
closed environment & unusable anywhere except in Scratchpads. If
Scratchpads can store viaf, wikidata, ORCID, whatever & share these
alongside outputs then the task is complete. No need for any
relationship between it and Bionomia or any other. It does not matter
which of these tokens of identity is chosen so long as they are
shared, can be resolved against one another, and asserted with
confidence to be equivalent. That said, swapping out tokens one for
another requires considerable disambiguation, oftentimes intractable
unless some other piece of data is shared among tokens being swapped.
Bionomia's infrasrtucture costs are negligible because it piggy-backs
off and links ORCID, Wikidata & GBIF.

Technological issues & design issues aside, what we're scratching at
here are more fundamental, epistemological questions. Do any of us
care to ascribe a token of shared identity to the products of our
science, whether these are publications, specimens, sequences, or
other? Clearly we do because we massage our CVs; statements in there
MUST be verifiable and cannot be fraudulent. But under what
circumstances then are machine-readable tokens of identity essential,
maximally useful, or outright damaging to the person? What
expectations do we have for the aggregation of those products outside
our own construction in our CVs? We are absolutely miffed when some
product or output has been misattributed to ourselves or to someone
else. It is comparable to naive aggregation of biodiversity data
without sensitivity to hemi-homonymy. It can entangle science & it's
sloppy.

And of course there are ethical considerations. We could deflect the
problem by using a wide open model like wikidata – a meta-aggregator
of tokens of identity whose circumscriptions are defined elsewhere
than in wikidata proper. But then there are other ethical
considerations inherent to openness. Gender, birth date, death date,
aliases, etc. are editable by anyone and everyone in wikidata whereas
ORCID will never store demographic data. If all that you want public
in ORCID is the ID and your name (gibberish is possible), then so be
it. That's your choice. But then you leave behind a wake of gibberish
when you're no longer on this Earth & that will do damage.

David


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