Is It Time to Retire ResearcherID?

A ResearcherID profile for a predatory journal.

ResearcherID is a unique, persistent identifier for individual researchers set up by Thomson Reuters. ORCID, which came later, has made it mostly obsolete. Moreover, ResearcherID is also being colonized by predatory journals, who are registering as if they were individual researchers and polluting the database with spam.

It appears that Thomson Reuters’ successor, Clarivate Analytics, is not maintaining the integrity of the ResearcherID database.

Part of a spam email claiming a predatory journal is “indexed” in ResearcherID.

Moreover, predatory journals, such as the bottom-feeding International Journal of Innovations in Engineering and Technology (IJIET) are using their ResearcherID numbers to make themselves look legitimate to unsuspecting researchers.

In the screenshot from a spam email above, the journal says:

Thomson Reuters ReseacherID indexed Journal

ReseacherID: P-8165-2015

All Published papers will be indexed on Thomson Reuter ReseacherID with above reseacherID

This is complete nonsense. ResearcherID is not an academic index, and it was never intended that journals register for a ResearcherID number.

If you see a journal advertising its own ResearcherID number, — or any other identifier designed for individual researchers — let this automatically disqualify the journal from all consideration.

The use of ResearcherID numbers for journals is deceptive and wrong. The best solution to this abuse may be to retire ResearcherID altogether.

Hat tip: Dr. Kathryn H. Jacobsen

Appendix: Selected additional journals that also advertise using ResearcherID
o Journal of Biospectracal
o International Journal of Advance Computing Techniques and Applications (IJACTA)
o International Journal of Advance Foundation and Research in Computer (IJAFRC)
o International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biological Science Archive (IJPBA)
o Journal of Biological Sciences and Medicine (JBSM)

By: Jeffrey Beall
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Source: Scholarly Open Access

John says:

December 29, 2016 at 9:23 AM

Scopus has also provided an ID for researchers and in many cases, researchers’ articles maintain different IDs but Scopus team will merge them if authors inform them. This article ID like ORCHID can be used for author identification but has nothing to do for publishers to receive credit.

Wim Crusio says:

December 29, 2016 at 9:30 AM

One thing ResearcherID does that ORCID doesn’t do (yet?) is provide a citation analysis for a researcher. I would say that the best solution for the moment would be for Clarivate Analytics to start curating their database and delete such spam accounts. Should not be too difficult to search for accounts like that “search words could be “journal”, “reviews”, “essays”, “international”, etc).

Mr Hobbs says:

December 29, 2016 at 1:23 PM

If you say that “Clarivate Analytics, is not maintaining the integrity of the ResearcherID database” – what will then happen to Journal Citation Index (aka ISI) in the future? Perhaps one day OMICS and Co. simply buy the real impact factors instead of faking them…money rules the world. And science will be completely busted.

davidl53 says:

December 29, 2016 at 2:51 PM

ORCID has potential but I struggle to understand the organization’s priorities. Today, a search on my first and last name brings 19 results. 12 of these have no additional information that could be used to disambiguate one from the other. Only 5 of these (my record included) provide any information useful for disambiguation. I’m disappointed that the ORCID identification string isn’t useful for indexing.

Further, The ORCID ID is a subset of the ISNI author database. However, ORCID did not allow me to register with my ISNI number. So, now, I have two identifiers within the ISNI record format.

ORCID discourages multiple registrations under the same name. However I know someone who has three ORCID IDs. She didn’t make note of her earlier ID and the ORCID interface didn’t make it easy to know which of the more than 30 ORCID records with her name so, to submit a manuscript, she simply registered again. (I pointed out that she could have looked up her publication and found her ID but she didn’t think of that.

Another problem is that the system to enter publication metadata allows free-text entry and entering structured metadata isn’t really possible. The system for metadata entry is still (after several years) so unfriendly that one stray character outside a field closes the entire entry box and data entry must begin again.

ORCID membership is expensive and there are many powerful supporters. Unless my arithmetic skills fail, the annual budget is quite large. Yet, it is clear from their staff list that their emphasis is not on LIS because of the 20 employees only one has a LIS degree and her job description doesn’t include much other than web design and user interface work for connecting with WordPress and Drupal.

My organization was an ORCID launch partner. I had high hopes for its success. I still have hopes but those have been tempered by my experience. I have offered not only suggestions about fixing problems but also the programming time to implement the solutions. I volunteered to serve on advisory committees but was told that the current ORCID priorities — improving the interface with ResearcherID, Scopus, and CrossRef — are not in line with mine (which were structured metadata, duplicate work identification and record merging, alignment with the ISNI database, and protections against authors with duplicate ORCID IDs. I offered that, because I was offering actual code, not merely suggestions, that their priorities and my improvements were quite compatible.

John says:

December 30, 2016 at 7:05 AM


Could you please tell me what would be the advantage of ORCID against Scopus ID? Good and motivated researchers could refine their Scopus ID by cooperating the Scopus team and manage to have an ID which shows citation, h-index, etc.

ORCID is not a non-for-profit organisation since it charge alot for subscription.

Wim Crusio says:

December 30, 2016 at 9:49 AM

?? As far as I know, ORCID can be used free of charge by any researcher.

davidl53 says:

December 30, 2016 at 5:34 PM

There is no cost to an author to get an ORCID ID.

ORCID _should_ be “the best thing since sliced bread” (if that is a good thing). ORCID hasn’t yet reached that height.

I desperately want to love all things ORCID but so far I’m disappointed. Like Christie’s Miss Lemon I dream of a filing system that allows a perfect author search system. I fear that ORCID is going to be focused upon its organizational needs for quite a while and that its author-disambiguation role is slipping away. I hope that things improve soon.

Bonbon says:

December 29, 2016 at 3:13 PM

ResearcherID is dead. ORCID killed it.

It should be retired (for reasons completely unrelated to predatory journals). It just doesn’t serve any purpose anymore.

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