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Author identification

Page history last edited by Alma Swan 11 years, 11 months ago

Map version


International initiatives on standards


ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier)


Was ISPI (International Standard Party Identifier). Draft ISO Standard (ISO 27729). Identifies creators of works by a unique 16-digit number.


MARC/MARC21-based library name authority systems


Libraries are increasingly converging upon the Library of Congress's MARC/MARC21 system of nomenclature for cataloguing purposes. The MARC authority records provide information about names.


FRANAR (Working Group on Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records)


Longstanding working group of IFLA. The group is charged with the following:

  • To define functional requirements of authority records
  • To study the feasibility of an International Standard Authority Data Number
  • To serve as the official IFLA liaison to and work with other interested groups concerning authority files

It has produced two recent reports (see bottom of page).




The OKKAM project aims at enabling the Web of Entities, namely a virtual space where any collection of data and information about any type of entities (e.g. people, locations, organizations, events, products, ...) published on the Web can be integrated into a single virtual, decentralized, open knowledge base (like the Web did for hypertexts). FP7-funded project completing in June 2010.


ONESAC (ONE Shared Authority Control)


A prototyping project (2005) with a number of project partners: BIBSYS, British Library, Italian National Library, National Library of Finland, Library of Congress, LIBRIS, Portia I/S, Royal Library of Sweden, UN FAO. Aimed to merge data from different sources to avoid duplication of effort.


Open Identity Exchange (OIX)


The goal of OIX is to build trust in the exchange of identity credentials online

  • Standardize identity interactions
  • Eliminate the need for pairwise legal agreements
  • Reduce the friction of logins, registrations, purchases, and other online activities
  • Increase confidence in online identity infrastructure


ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID)


ORCID's website is hosted by Thomson Reuters, but it appears to be a collaborative initiative with stakeholders including all the major publishers (see http://science.thomsonreuters.com/orcid/gallery.html). The ORCID Initiative represents a community effort to establish an open, independent registry that is adopted and embraced as the industry’s de facto standard. Our mission is to resolve the systemic name ambiguity, by means of assigning unique identifiers linkable to an individual's research output, to enhance the scientific discovery process and improve the efficiency of funding and collaboration.


National systems

There are examples of national-level systems (often the national research information system) that have developed author identification systems.


Digital Author Identifier (Netherlands)


The Dutch author-identifier system assigning a unique number to all authors in the Dutch research system. The DAI links the PICA database in institutional libraries with the METIS national research information system.


FRIDA (Norwegian National Research Database)

All FRIDA member institutions (Norway's research-based institutions) export personnel data to FRIDA. FRIDA identifies author names and employing institutions and uniquely identifies the author by means of national insurance number. Note - FRIDA only covers a portion of Norway's research community: this is not a complete national picture.


DissOnline (Germany's national dissertations database)


Maintained by the German National Library. Authors who are awarded their doctorate in Germany are registered in this system with a unique identifier. This identifier is part of the National Name Authority File (PND) . The German Wikipedia  uses PND identifiers to link to author information.


EATS (New Zealand Electronic Text Centre Entity Authority Tool Set)


A Web application for managing information about entities in the NZETC's records.


GEPRIS (the DFG's research information system)

Identifies authors by the first 2-4 letters of their surname plus numbers (e.g. XX 1234 or YY 67) generated by Elektra, the DFG's internal administrative grant-processing procedure. This disambiguation is for DFG's internal processes only.


People Australia


The National Library of Australia is creating an online resource discovery service called People Australia. The service will allow users to access information about significant Australian people and organisations as well as related biographical and contextual information. People Australia will be based on the Australian Name Authority File, maintained since 1980 by Australian libraries that contribute their holdings to the Australian National Bibliographic Database. People Australia will make the Australian Name Authority File available on the Web.



A system used by the Research Councils to uniquely identify PhD students. EThOS (the UK's new national e-theses service) will be including XXX identifier in its metadata at some point. It may also be used beyond PhD student level in the future.


Researcher Name Resolver (Japan)


The system shows identifiers, names, affiliations and aggregated information on researchers in Japan. Maintained by National Institute of Informatics. The identifier is provided by the ministory of Eductations, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (MEXT). It currently covers all receivers of grant-in-aid for Scientific Research (Kaken) by MEXT.


MaiIdentity Project (Japan)

MaiIdentity Project is part of Cyber Science Infrastracture (CSI) project by National Institute of Informatics (NII) and funded by NII. It's aim is to accomplish the mutual access between Researcher Information System(RIS) and Institutional Repository(IR) through author identification functionality using a national author identifier such as the personal researcher number assigned by JSPS(Japan Society for the promotion of Science). This project is also expected to collaborate with the Researcher Resolver System which is now being developed by NII. Kanazawa University is a main institution in charge of the development of the project.



Academia-based projects or services




A database of academic scholars worldwide. Authors register themselves, their departments and their institutions, along with details of their papers. Currently holds details of around 24K people and 87K papers.


Access and Identity Management Programme (JISC)

The JISC has announced (09/09/09) a new programme called Access & Identity Management.  Initial work to be funded will be under two areas - Innovation and Level of Assurance, with available funding to total 1 million GBP and 0.6 million GBP respectively. Projects will start in January 2010 and finish by 31 March 2011. Further details can be found on the programme's website: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/fundingopportunities/funding_calls/2009/08/0809aim.aspx


Arrowsmith project


Developed at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Arrowsmith uses statistical modelling based on multiple features to predict the probability that two papers are authored by the same person. Uses the PubMed database for source material.


arXiv's author identifier system


arXiv has introduced a new author identifier system (April 2009). Initially, authors must opt-in to having a public identifier but eventually the database will have public identifiers for all authors without having to enlist author help in verification.




Developed from Open Society Institute funded ACIS software. Th

e aim is to build an interdisciplinary version of the RePEc Author Service that has been successful in economics. In early 2009, there are 19 million documents to be claimed, the bulk from PubMed. Work is under way to add data from all DOAR registered archives.


Names Project


A JISC-funded project with MIMAS and the British Library as project partners. The first phase has completed and further funding will now be sought. The project has produced documentation on software requirements and on mapping data against various systems. It is developing a prototype based on data extracted from Zetoc.


EPrints repository software


The latest version of EPrints incorporates author disambiguation through controlled metadata using the institution's personnel database and email addresses.


RePEc Author Service


Registry of authors in economics worldwide. Authors register themselves and claim documents within the RePEc datasbase. In late 2008, 80% of an independent list of top authors in economics are registered with the system. Authors register because the system is widely used across RePEc services. The system has been running since 1999. Since 2004 it runs a new, purposed-build software written with support of the Open Society Institute called ACIS.


Universal Author Identifier System


Part of the Cascading Citations Analysis Project. Project partners are the Alexander Technological Education Institute and the University of Macedonia. Authors self-register and provide their details.


Networking Names


New report on identifiers from the RLG/OCLC. This report identifies the necessary components of a "Cooperative Identities Hub" that would address the problem space in the research community and have the most impact across different target audiences.


Vocabulary Mapping Framework


JISC-funded project to create an extensive and authoritative mapping of vocabularies from major content metadata standards, creating a downloadable tool to support interoperability across communities. The work is an expansion of the existing RDA/ONIX Framework into a comprehensive vocabulary of resource relators and categories, which will be a superset of those used in major standards from the publisher/producer, education and bibliographic/heritage communities (CIDOC CRM; DCMI; DDEX; DOI; FRBR; MARC21; LOM; ONIX; RDA).



Proprietary systems: publishers

A number of proprietary systems for author identification have been developed by publishers. There is little detail available, unsurprisingly, but the main ones are listed below.


Thomson Reuter Distinct Author Identification System



Wiley-Blackwell Author Services



Scopus Author Identifier (Elsevier)




Proprietary systems: aggregator or library vendor systems


Journal Supply Chain Efficiency Improvement Pilot


A partnership project to develop an institutional (not author) identification system. Partners: British Library, SWETS, Ringold, Highwire Press.


OCLC WorldCat Identity Service


Contains information on 20 million authors.


ProQuest Scholar Universe


Contains 2 million scholar profiles derived from multiple sources. Scholars can deposit the information themselves.



Further information

Danskin A and Hill A (2008) Stakeholders' requirements for the Names project prototype. http://names.mimas.ac.uk/documents/Names_Requirements_Report,_26Feb2008.pdf

FRANAR (2008) A review of the feasibility of an international standard authority data number. http://www.ifla.org/VII/d4/franar-numbering-paper.pdf

FRANAR (2007) Functional requirements for authority data: a conceptual model. http://www.ifla.org/VII/d4/franar-conceptual-model-2ndreview.pdf

Hilf ER, Kappenberg D and Roosendaal HE (2008) Author identification: the benefit of being able to identify authors uniquely. The Euroscientist (5) December http://www.euroscience.org/author-identification,28115,en.html

ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families, Second edition http://www.ica.org/en/node/30230

Portia I/S, 'RDF and ONESAC shared authority control' white paper






Comments (2)

maurice said

at 2:42 pm on Mar 11, 2010

Hi Alma,
OKKAM.org is also persuing "the ring that rules them all" for author identifiers. Strangely Elsevier is involved in this project, as well as in ORCID.
All the best,

maurice said

at 2:58 pm on Mar 11, 2010

Hi again,
http://openidentityexchange.org is a federative trust framework managing identities.
members are Google, paypal, etc. OCLC has joined the club.

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