Advocacy toolkit and reporting on the project

2bugsAs everyone is no doubt aware, the formal part of the ORCID pilot projects has now closed. The final meetings with Jisc were very productive, and it was great to meet some of the team from ORCID as well as catching up with the other pilot project teams. I was very pleased to hear that Laurel from ORCID especially was very impressed with our advocacy materials, and we had a very nice chat about the ideas behind them and their uses, as well as some of the things that ORCID themselves were working on in this area.

Part of the original project plan required the team here at Kent to produce an advocacy toolkit for other institutions wanting to undertake a similar project, and following the conversations I had at this final Jisc meeting I decided to focus on what made our project unique, which was the materials and the team we built for the work here at Kent. I hope the Advocacy Toolkit helps anyone wanting to do their own project.

The final JISC Pilot Project Report has also been submitted in the last few weeks and I have linked this to the post too for anyone that may be interested in the more formal side of the projects.

Barbara: Working as an ORCID advocate

I first heard about ORCID in the postgraduate room in the Templeman Library at the end of November 2014, when Lesley Gould informally asked the regular users of the room whether we wanted to participate in the project. I immediately liked the concept behind ORCID and the benefits of having, through an ORCID number, a detailed, up-to-date and traceable web presence.

Two days later, I met Kirsty and started my job as an ORCID ambassador in the School of English (my school) and, to a certain extent, with friends and colleagues from the School of European Culture and Languages. I found out that most people from across the humanities postgraduate community were fascinated by ORCID – were they Master’s students about to consider the possibility of applying to a PhD or final-year research students, they all found the idea of an ORCID number useful. Also, everybody seemed to love the “Cids”, and now most computers in the postgraduate room and the AAL offices in the school of English have a bug on their screen frame!bug

As much as I left postcards and small cards around the department and in pigeonholes of Postgraduates who teach and early-career researchers, I think that people preferred to know more about ORCID when I spoke to them directly about the project. So, some of the reading groups and Postgraduate seminars that I normally attend where the perfect platform for me to hand out the material and deliver a brief presentation about ORCID. At the same time, the informal setting of working spaces and common rooms was great to have an easy chat with colleagues who had already heard about ORCID, or seen it advertised on campus without fully knowing what it was.

My moment of greatest success, however, was when a friend who lives abroad and with whom I was then co-editing a special issue (now published) told me that she wanted to change her name on it. Her case was a perfect case where having an ORCID number would make a difference! I told her about the project, and she decided to sign up for it immediately. I’m happy and proud that, through my work at ORCID, I have been able to offer a simple, straightforward and useful tool which I’m sure will make life so much easier for many researchers, now and in the future.

George: My ORCID experience

When I first saw the ORCID advert in the Graduate School Weekly Bulletin and understood the idea behind it, I already got excited about its aims as well as the opportunity to be part of the team to advocate for it. Hence, I was even more excited when I met Kirsty on 28th October for a chat about the programme, my role, plans, materials we would have, et cetera.

So even before I got materials three days later on 31st, I had already started advocating for ORCID at the two PhD workshops I had attended, as well as at my school’s Staff/Student Liaison Committee meeting which was in the same week. Once I had the materials, I went about putting up posters in different schools and colleges. This was complemented by distributing leaflets, cards and other goodies.

I also had a chance to talk about ORID with my supervisors and at our school’s weekly seminars, just as I always took an opportunity to speak about it at every other Graduate School workshop I was attending at the campus. After three weeks, I was mesmerized by the amount of people who said they had either seen or heard about ORCID before and some confirmed that they had signed up and have an account.

It was also fascinating to note that at one of the seminars I attended (Measuring Research Impact), ORCID was mentioned and strongly recommended as a good tool for researchers. I was proud to an extent that I chipped in a bit to explain its benefits and that that I was part of the team here at Kent. At one of the Graduate School’s Research Cafés we have every month, I was glad to meet three PhD students who said they had heard about ORCID and signed up!

Regarding what went well, personally I would say advocating for something I believed in and was excited about was without a doubt a highlight. Other than that, getting to tell people (mostly researchers) who didn’t have an idea about it before to fully comprehend the ORCID idea and make a decision to sign up was truly the climax. The challenge was that most of them were already used to other existing tools like Academia, LinkedIn and others. However, the fact that ORCID is a unique identifier and clears out any name ambiguity seemed to make it stand out from the others.

Again, it was great to learn that people were willing to try something new and see how it is indeed different from the rest (and promised to sign up).

Other than people confusing it with other forums as mentioned above, perhaps the other challenge was when people always promised that they would sign up but you were not always sure if they really eventually signed up. The few I tried to follow up with needed to be reminded (at times on two occasions) to sign up.

Otherwise, I look forward to the last weeks of this amazing experience when I will go round the schools again to distribute the materials and talk to as much people as possibly I can. Of course I also look forward to publishing more in the future and fully utilize and live the ORCID idea and experience!

Ruth: Working as a ‘remote’ ORCID advocate.

I have been working as an ORCID advocate since October after my friend told my about the project. As a PhD student seeking to progress with a future career in academia, becoming an ORCID advocate seemed like a great opportunity to get involved with the scheme and to find out more about how to develop my own research activities and connect with other PhD and early career researchers along the way at Kent.

My work with ORCID so far has mostly taken place off-campus as I currently only commute into Kent a couple of times a week. This has led me to think of other ways of getting the message out about ORCID instead of through the usual avenues of going around departments handing out posters and flyers and organizing meetings.  Like most researchers, emails are important lifeline for me to connect with other researchers, organize meetings and to find out about conferences and career events.  So it seemed like a sensible idea to start getting the ball rolling about the scheme.

The first task I was assigned was to email around all the schools at Kent (and there are a fair few!) with information about ORCID in the hope this would then be circulated around staff and postgraduate researchers. This has actually proved to be quite successful and I have received many really positive responses about the scheme. Even after mentioning the ORCID briefly to fellow PhD students, many have seemed to pick up on the scheme and were considering signing up. Administrators from the departments have also sent follow up emails with enquires about how ORCID works in conjunction with the existing Kent Academic Repository (KAR) scheme.

In the up and coming weeks, I am really looking forward to being involved in a pop-up event and further workshops where I will have a chance to talk about ORCID (this time in person)! The ORCID advocates have also been given some great merchandise, in the form of business cards and postcards, which will certainly help people to get to grips with the basics of the scheme. Using email has been a great way to start spreading the word about ORCID and I hope to carry on with the conversation on campus.

T-minus 1 month…

And counting!

The project has been going so well over the last few weeks that I have forgotten to blog! Sorry about that!

The advocates total is up to seven very effective and lovely team members that are all brilliant and have hugely diverse ideas, just as I was hoping. I won’t talk too much about them as I have asked some of the longest standing team members to produce guest posts for this blog about what they’ve been up to, the first of which should be up in the next few days.

The rest of our merchandise has arrived, which has been very well received, especially the fuzzy bugs that seem to have become our unofficial mascot – nicknamed ‘Cid’ he is very popular and I think we’ll have to order some more before long! We have had some significant issues with the t-shirt company, with the orders being repeatedly wrong, but hopefully (fingers crossed) this should now be rectified and all of the advocates can have their own shirts for events. 1bug

We are now running weekly pop up stands in the library where the team hand out information, answer questions and give demonstrations, as well as encouraging people to sign up there and then. In the next few weeks we are planning to host an ORCID themed Christmas Party, which we can invite postgraduates, PhD students and academic staff to en masse for socialising, networking, and a chance to have all your questions answered, with a mince pie.

I haven’t checked on our total sign up’s recently, but as of around a month ago we were approaching 300 which is a huge increase from where we started – well done team!


Merchandise and advocates

I find it interesting the different ways that the advocates are taking to approach their work with their departments. I have one advocate that is primarily off-campus who is choosing to do a lot of their work by email, and approaching the departments to get information circulated, and she is getting some really good responses.

On completely the opposite end of the scale, I have a couple of advocates that are utilising reading groups, school meetings and seminars to spread the word using leaflets and their own enthusiasm, also having the same great results.

This week coming up, as I am going to be away, I have asked them to start putting their experience into words, helping to collate some FAQs for the website, as well as investigating the different tools that ORCID provide to ‘Link works’ and writing up some short guidance that we can use to support our academic staff in the use of the ORCID site to its full potential. We are also going ‘old school’ and some of the teams are going to be putting up posters in their schools and across campus in postgraduate spaces, staff rooms and offices, so you won’t be able to escape the message!

We have also just taken possession of our first official merchandise! postcards business cards

Postcards have been created that contain the key ORCID 1, 2, 3 motif as well as some plain-language benefits and the internal page for more information. We decided on postcards because the message was so simple, filling a flyer or leaflet would have been very laborious and ORCID is such a simple idea, it just wasn’t needed.

We have also received business cards. These were the idea of the advocates, as I said before, and they look great. They wanted a simple, easy to transport way of giving the URL and some contact information for more details. Now I think about it, business cards are a good idea for another reason, they stick around. I know this seems to be my rationale for more than one of the merchandising products, but someone who thinks ORCID is a great idea and goes away clutching a leaflet, the leaflet is going to get screwed up, torn, coffee spilt on, used to write down a phone number. A business card is less likely to get screwed up, and will stick around in a pocket or wallet until rediscovered, still intact to remind them what a good idea this was.

The team are on their way to collect their business cards as I type – I’ll let you know what they think!


ORCID Advocates

This week I held the first briefing sessions for the ORCID advocate roles that form a key part of this project. Of the ten I can potentially recruit, the first four have been briefed and have begun their outreach in their respective academic schools.

I realise that four is a long way from the ten we need but they are so enthusiastic and full of great ideas, I don’t have any worries about their ability to do the job, or about my decision to allow them a freer reign over the events and methods of advocacy that they were to undertake. As I thought, each of them knows the structure of their department and the best channels to go through to effectively perform their roles.

ORCID as a product is of interest to everyone involved in research at an academic institution, from research Masters students, through PhD students and up into the academic and research staff in the departments, each group with slightly different concerns and priorities. The logic behind hiring PhD students and early career researchers is key to the success of the project, as they are a central point between the Masters students (who they have contact as fellow postgraduates/mentors/teachers), and the staff (which they work with). This is an idea that the first advocates have embraced – we’ll see how they get on.

After they have had a week or so to make their first connections and give their first talks to their peers, we are attending a half-day Open Access conference on campus where we are giving a talk, hosting a stand, and a sign-up booth where delegates can come and register for their ORCID iD with our guidance. After that we will be collating our FAQs from the intervening weeks and the conference onto the website, and preparing more detailed support documentation if the need for it is present beyond what can be fulfilled by the inbuilt ORCID documentation.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

More promotion for the remaining positions is my job for today, and chasing the designs for our handout materials, but thats another post!


Technical update

Implementing ORCiDs in your systems does not have to be difficult. Fortunately it is a well designed system that gives you a simple URL that you can click on that takes you to the right place. We have not completed the first part of implementing ORCiDs in our systems, and here I will be covering some of the technical details of what we did and what our future aims are.

At Kent we use the popular repository management system Eprints. The best feature of Eprints is its customisability making adding a new field for ORCiDs pretty straightforward. We’ve added fields to the creator, editor and contributor entries so ORCiDs can be entered for people’s work regardless of their role. In Eprints we do not have to hack the database manually to do this, instead we add entries to to describe where the new field is placed and how it should be rendered. We have put it alongside other information such as the email address, first name and last name. The structure looks like this:


  sub_name => ‘orcid’,

  type => ‘url’,

  render_value => ‘EPrints::Extras::render_url_truncate_end’



We could then tell Eprints to modify the database for us with this command:

epadmin update_database_structure [repository name]


To get the ORCiD to render we added sections like this to the summary_page.xml file after adding relevant labels to eprints_fields.xml:


<epc:foreach expr=”$‘creators’)” iterator=”creator”>


    <th align=”right”>ORCiD (<epc:print expr=”$creator{name}.property(‘family’)” />, <epc:print expr=”$creator{name}.property(‘given’)” />):</th>

    <td valign=”top”><a href=”{$creator{orcid}}”><epc:print expr=”$creator{orcid}” /></a> </td>




Now we have the capacity to put this new unique id alongside people’s names it is time to get some benefit out of it. We have added the capacity to search for work by ORCiD. Again, Eprints makes this easy for us. We made a modification to

{ meta_fields => [ “creators_orcid” ] }


This neatly solves the problem of being able to search for people by a unique label! We have been able to do this to a limited extent with email addresses, but obviously we cannot publish those on the site because of spam. This caused a bit of a problem when you were searching for a person’s work where they might have a name that is not unique. Now you can just copy and paste their ORCiD into the search field and results will be returned. When you first set this up, note that you need to wait for Eprints to finish indexing.

In the future we plan to make much more use of ORCiDs. We have a current project taking place that is implementing a new research management system. The providers of this system have plans to implement functionality that will make use of ORCiDs to import information. We’re also integrating ORCiDs into our Moodle based Virtual Learning Environment for E-Theses submissions. This will enable us to fully leverage the power of ORCiDs in our systems. Keep an eye on this blog for further developments!


Web presence and an unexpected challenge

It’s an interesting challenge to promote and advocate for the use of an external product without branding it and bringing it under the corporate wing, while being an internal member of staff. I have to admit, I didn’t consider the effect my being a member of staff would have on the process of promoting ORCID.

Register for your ORCID iDI found this especially true when I attended one of the first events – I was talking about ORCID to our new postgraduates and promoting it by relating it to work they would be doing, which was quite successful in gaining enthusiasm and encouraging numbers of interested parties. The problem with this is that by knowing what they would be doing, it was fairly obvious that I was a member of staff, which led a number of people to ask about the ‘external applications’ of this product after they leave the Uni.

This was very revealing, helped greatly in forming the explanation of ORCID I was giving throughout the event, and in turn the approach we are taking to support and promotion internally.

We have since created an internal web page on the library website, in a section dedicated to research. It comes alongside advice about Open Access publishing, research resources and online thesis submission.

Keeping within the style guidelines of the website, we were able to follow our previous decision to utilise the messages provided by ORCID themselves, while making the content relevant to an internal audience. The fine balance is making it relevant, while still being externally focussed. Small elements have been introduced, such as videos and logos from ORCID’s outreach resources page, and even the internal email address we have created for people to send queries to ( is an indication that we are supporting it’s use, rather than administering it as a system. We are also using the page to advertise the advocate positions, with the advert being held externally on our news system, which is going well, we have 3 positions filled so far.

All in all, its been a good and very productive week!


Leaflets and merchandise

Although I did promise a first look for the attendees at the JISC event last week, unfortunately it wasn’t ready but now I have a suite of things that I can show you! Originally I was intending to create a hybrid message, using elements from the ORCID brand, as well as elements of Kent to create a suite of outreach documents and merchandise, but the discussions we had at the JISC day made me reconsider this approach.

Considering that our project focusses on advocating for use of this external product, I soon realised that utilising the designs and text that ORCID provides is the best way forward. It is not the aim of the project to bring this product within the Kent sphere and create our own name and brand for it, like we have with other systems, but these are designed to be integrated, what I realised is that ORCID isn’t one of these. This encouraged me to utilise the ORCID outreach materials provided on their ambassadors pages and create something distinctive from them.

The idea behind the materials we have so far is that they are as universal and distinctive as possible, I created a powerpoint slide for use in PG inductions, and using this as a template I created a leaflet and some posters, all of which feature the same design elements. The first two have been pulled from the provided content and merely modified to include refernce to using your Kent email address (to help us track numbers that sign up). From these, we used the same typeface and colours to add more personalised elements and informal language for PG students (there is also one for academic staff in production).














We wanted to use a catchy image to make the publicity items distinct, so we decided to utilise the ‘bubbles’ motif from the ORCID posters and the iD logo to create a footer image to tie elements together. It also helps to round out the colours of the posters and leflets as lots of green and pale colours on a white background can be quite dazzling when there is no other colour.

ORCID header 1

So all together it creates quite a nice effect – Poster.pdf

The idea is to utilise the same format for information screens, posters, leaflets and anything else we need, to ensure it is a recognisable and reusable programme – able to be used beyond the scope of the project.

Hope you like it!