piece recently about ORCID. ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID, and has the goal of making it easier to know exactly who is responsible for a given bit of research. ICPSR is a member of ORCID.
The article points out the most prolific researcher (by name) in 2011 is Y Wang who has published nearly four thousand times! And, of course, this is because although Y Wang is a single name, it belongs to many different people. And so how do you know how many of these publications we should credit to any one of those people known a Y Wang?
Having a unique way to identify someone is certainly useful, but it is mainly useful if EVERYONE participates in the scheme. For example, what if all of the people who already have a ResearcherID (such as myself - E-9184-2010) opt out of getting an ORCID too? Or, will either of these be any better than using an email address to identify someone?