[Taxacom] Forcing ORCID on researchers

Roderic Page Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk
Tue Dec 8 02:07:02 CST 2020

Hi Tony,

Yes, the scale of the task is daunting, but it’s not our problem as such. If Wikidata continues to grow and have value to all the people and projects involved, then I’m guessing scale issues will be dealt with. Optimistic perhaps, but we could easily have made the same arguments about GBIF when it started (“sure the maps are pretty, but can you handle a billion records?”).

Who keeps it updated, it’s the “community”, a nebulous, idiosyncratic frustrating and a times cantankerous group of people (and bots) who think the project matters.

And, to repurpose Rich Pyle’s retelling of the old "outrunning the bear” joke, for our purposes we don’t have to have a better system than Google Scholar, we just need one that’s better than Google Scholar for taxonomy. I think that’s entirely feasible.



On 8 Dec 2020, at 03:07, Tony Rees <tonyrees49 at gmail.com<mailto:tonyrees49 at gmail.com>> wrote:

Hi Rod,

A problem I see with Wikidata is scale... ORCID already has 9+million IDs issued, not to mention all the other workers (current and past) who do not have these - all will require an entry in Wikidata. Then there is the size of the scientific literature - presuming that every article and book would again get a Wikidata ID - I recall values in excess of 150m for the scholarly literature - again would need to be fairly comprehensively captured in order that an "open" system of researcher IDs <> publication IDs would be useful (or better than what is already available e.g. via Google scholar). So who does the work, what is the cost <> benefit ratio, who keeps it updated, who does quality control, duplicate detection and resolution, etc... I believe that PubMed alone adds 1m articles a year to its database.

By contrast, ORCID has a board (16 members) and a staff of 36 just to implement their mission alone (unique IDs for researchers): see https://orcid.org/node/9 . So expecting the same to emerge "organically" from the wikidata user community seems a big ask, to me.

- Tony

On Tue, 8 Dec 2020 at 09:44, Roderic Page <Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk<mailto:Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk>> wrote:
Hi Tony,

I think Wikidata is going to be the place where all these identifier efforts will coalesce. I know you’ve played with it a bit, there are some quirks but the potential is enormous.



> On 7 Dec 2020, at 22:36, Tony Rees via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>> wrote:
> As a follow up to the above, not too long ago I was interested in trying to
> discover academic papers authored by my late father (d. 2006), who was a
> geographer. He wrote books - thus has a VIAF ID, issued externally by a
> consortium of libraries in which his books reside, but I did not find a
> single easy way to discover/aggregate/publish a listing of his articles.
> Since he is deceased, many systems e.g. ORCID are not interested in issuing
> a relevant identifier, which seems a lost opportunity (same for the
> multitude of deceased authors in taxonomy).
> For what it's worth, there is a different Tony Rees to myself who writes
> books, has a VIAF ID (I do not - not being a book author, and cannot get
> one), and to whom some of my journal articles have been attributed in error
> (even though they are not books) in VIAF. I tried to get this undone, but
> did not get very far. Better data cleaning methods / user control obviously
> needed!
> Regards - Tony

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