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What do people want from an author identifier?

Geoffrey Bilder

Geoffrey Bilder – 2009 April 27

In Author Identifiers

Martin Fenner continues his interest in the subject of author identifiers. He recently posted an online poll asking people some specific questions about how they would like to see an author identifier implemented.*

The results of the poll are in and, though the sample was very small, the results are interesting. The responses are both gratifying -there seems to be a general belief that Crossref has a roll to play here- and perplexing -most think the identifier needs to identify other “contributors” to the scholarly communications process- yet there seems to be a preference for the moniker “digital author identifier”. This latter preference is certainly a surprise to us as we had been focusing our efforts on identifying analog authors. The only “digital authors” I know of are this one at at MIT and possibly this one at Aberystwyth University. 😉

Anyway, There are some additional reactions to Martin’s poll on FriendFeed.

Finally, I should have blogged about this earlier, but the March issue of Science included a summary of the initiatives and discussions surrounding the creation of an industry “author identifier” in an article titled “Are You Ready to Become a Number” (

In pointing people at this, I feel like I must make a clarification to the article. In short, I don’t think any of our members would “force” anybody to use an author identifier whether it came from Crossref or from anybody else. Though it is likely that in the interview I used the terms “carrot” and “stick”, in truth publisher’s would, instead of “a stick”, at most wield a Nerf bat. Having said that, the essential point remains- even if most major publishers strongly encouraged all of their authors to use the system, it would take several years before the system had a critical mass of data.

*Note that I deliberately didn’t point CrossTech readers at this poll as it was being conducted because I thought doing so might introduce a Crossref bias.

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Last Updated: 2018 March 28 by Geoffrey Bilder