Scholarly Impact Challenge: Day 1: Author Identification Systems

Join the Scholarly Impact Challenge to improve your research impact!

Author identifiers are unique identifiers that allow authors to distinguish themselves from other researchers. Online author identification systems allow individuals to control their own online presence, find collaborators, and share research outputs.

Why use Author Identification

Author ambiguity in the scholarly community is a persistent problem due to:

  • One author publishing under multiple variations of the same name
  • Common names
  • Name changes, e.g. marriage
  • Cultural differences in naming

Author Identification allows you to: 

  • Distinguish yourself from other researchers with similar names
  • Protect your work from misattribution
  • Make your work more discoverable by others
  • Generate citation counts and other metrics to measure your scholarly impact (a topic we'll explore on day 2 of this challenge)
  • Minimize data entry when submitting research for publication or applying for grants

Which Author Identification system should I use?

Set up multiple profiles.  The tools are not mutually exclusive; they pull data from different sources; the purpose varies.  The following three are the most widely used ones in STEM. 

(Open Researcher & Contributor ID)
Google Scholar Profile
Scopus Author ID

What is it

Persistent digital identifier for researchers

A profile for authors to keep track of their articles and citations

Automatically generated author identifier number within Scopus


Global non-profit, community-driven by Board that includes faculty, librarians, publishers, and IT experts.

Commercial: owned and operated by Google.

Commercial: Scopus is one of the citation databases operated by of the Elsevier company, which also operates other companies that publish scholarly journals and books.

Create your own profile




Add publications

Import from partner organizations (Web of Science, Scopus, CrossRef, etc.); Import from BibTex file; Add via DOI, PubMed ID or ArcXiv ID; Enter manually

Automatically added by Google;

Add by searching Google Scholar;

Enter manually

Automatically added by Scopus;

Changes can be requested


You control what you add. You can add publications, grants, datasets, and other professional activities and research outputs

Items indexed by Google Scholar. That includes anything scholarly and on the internet: publications, books, data sets, conference proceedings, presentations, etc.

Items indexed by Scopus. That includes journals, books, datasets, and conference proceedings.

Provide citation metrics

None are calculated by ORCID. However, data from an ORCID record can be input into other tools to generate author-level and journal-level metrics

Limited number: number of article citations, h-index

Most robust:number of article citations,  h-index, field weighted citation impact, citations by year

Best for

Anyone with research or academic activities who wants to promote their work

Anyone with research or academic activities who wants to track citations and network with colleagues

Authors with 2 or more publications indexed in Scopus

Want to learn more? FAQ on ORCID Google Scholar profile FAQ Scopus Author FAQ

Basic Challenge: Make or claim profiles on three common services

Once you create profiles at these three services, the majority of subsequent publications you author and citations to your publications will be automatically added, and you can add the rest manually. Each of these services uses different sources and methods to track your publications and citations, so you will see different information on each service. It can be valuable to maintain profiles at several services to ensure others see all your academic efforts, and because each tool has slightly different functions.

Part 1: Register for an ORCID. Anyone can create an ORCID account.

1. Register for an ORCID  (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) using an email address you will continually have access to. This may be your email or another.

2. If you chose to use a non-USC email address, after registration, add your email to link your profile to USC.

Part 2: Create a Google Scholar profile. Anyone can create a Google Scholar Profile.

1. Go to the Google Scholar Profile set up page.

2. Create an account using the name you typically publish under. You may use a personal email or your USC email account. If you use your USC email, the words "University of Southern California" will automatically be added to your profile as your current institution.

Part 3: Claim your Scopus Author ID. Only those who have authored 2 or more publications indexed in Scopus have an author ID. If you do not meet this criteria, you can skip this step and consider yourself to have succeeded at this day's challenge by claiming profiles on two services.

1. Search Scopus Author Profiles for your profile. Scopus is a multidisciplinary sciences database that includes journal articles, datasets, conference proceedings, and books. Scopus Author IDs are created for any author with 2 publications in Scopus.

2. You will see a list of automatically generated profiles based on similar names. Review the list.

- If there is only one automatically generated profile that refers to you, click the name. From the profile, click "Create account" in the top right of the page. You MUST use a non-USC email address. Create a personal Scopus account and "claim" this author profile.

- If there is more than 1 automatically generated profile that refers to you, choose the best match from the list of results. From the profile, click "Create account" in the top right of the page. You MUST use a non-USC email address. Create a personal Scopus account and "claim" this author profile. Later, you can request to merge different profiles.  Review the Scopus FAQ to learn how to merge profiles.

Advanced Challenge: Update and promote profiles

If you already have accounts one or more of these services, try the advanced challenge.

Author identification systems are only useful if the information included is correct, and, if they are found by others! Review the bullet points below, and select 2 tasks to promote your profile(s) and 2 tasks to update your profile(s.

Promote your Profiles

- Add links to one or more of these profiles to your email signature.

- Add one or more of these profiles to your curriculum vitae or résumé.

- Add links to one or more of these profiles in other online services you use to promote yourself and your professional/scholarly work: LinkedIn, your personal webpage, your lab webpage, social media, etc.

- Add your ORCID to your SciENcv, a service supported by the National Library of Medicine that can generate biosketches for NSF and NIH grant applications.

Update Profiles

- Log in to your ORCID account. Add new publications, new funding (grants), and professional activities you have done, since last updating this profile.

- Log in to your Google Scholar Profile. Add new publications you have authored since last reviewing.

- Log in to your Google Scholar profile. This source automatically adds publications that it believes are authored by you, and makes mistakes with people with common names. Review the list of publications carefully and remove those that you did not author.

- Log in to your Scopus Author Profile. Once you have signed in to your Scopus Author profile, click Edit Profile:

a. Click on Documents on the left side of the page. Review the list of publications, grants, and preprints and remove those that you did not author.

b. Scroll to the bottom of the documents list to see this prompt:

Click Search for Missing Documents in Scopus. A popup box will appear allowing you to search by author, keyword, title, etc., to find items you have authored that are missing. Be aware that you can only add items that are indexed in Scopus: not all your publications will be.


Day 2: Research Metrics

Now that you have claimed/created author identifiers or have updated your profiles, you have the raw data needed to calculate some research metrics such as citation counts and your h-index, and can find some variants of these numbers in these services. Continue on to Day Two to explore appropriate use of Research Metrics.