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!