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Learn about ORCIDs, requirements for USGS employees, and how to set up and optimize your account.

What are the benefits of having an ORCID?

ORCID infographic with an overview of ORCIDs, benefits of an ORCID, and comparison between USGS staff profiles and an ORCID profile.
ORCID Infographic; learn more at
  • An ORCID distinguishes you from other researchers with the same name.
    • Example: There are thousands of individuals named “John Smith,” but each of their ORCIDs would be unique, allowing publications to be properly attributed.
  • An ORCID helps colleagues find your published research even if you have used different aliases. 
    • Example: John Taylor Smith has published under John Smith, J.T. Smith, John T. Smith, and John Taylor Smith. His ORCID associated with the publications would appropriately identify him with each of his aliases. 
  • An ORCID compiles your research products into a single profile even if your name or research affiliation changes. 
    • Example: Biogeochemist Danita T. Johnson has published over her career as Danita Taylor, Danita A. Taylor, DA Taylor, Danita Taylor Johnson, Danita Johnson, Danita T. Johnson, and DT Johnson. 
  • An ORCID helps other researchers to find all your research products. 
    • Example: A researcher wants to find other articles published by JT Smith, but they may find thousands of items published by different JT Smiths if they search by name alone. An ORCID will help identify the research products by a specific researcher. 


ORCID Requirements for USGS Employees

I am a USGS author of publications and data. Am I required to have an ORCID? 

Yes. Per Section 3.E. of SM 502.4, all USGS authors must have an ORCID. In addition, you must, at minimum: 

  • Populate your ORCID profile with your first and last name 

  • Populate your current employer to show ‘U.S. Geological Survey’ 

  • Make your ORCID, USGS Affiliation, and USGS email publicly visible in your ORCID profile. You may keep other aspects of your ORCID profile private.

There are additional fields and settings that will offer benefits to you as well (See “Set up an ORCID” section below).


Where do I need to provide my ORCID while publishing an information product? 

In your IPDS record 

  • All USGS authors must enter an ORCID, along with their name, in the IPDS record for that product. 

  • If you are an author of a USGS series publication, the Science Publishing Network (SPN) will supply CrossRef – the issuer of the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for that publication – with authors’ ORCIDs, using the information provided in the IPDS record. 

  • If one of your USGS co-authors is responsible for the IPDS submission of your joint article, make sure that your colleague has your ORCID. 

  • While IPDS does not require ORCIDs for your non-USGS co-authors, entering their ORCIDs is a professional courtesy that will ensure their attribution to your joint publication in their own ORCID profile.  

In your manuscript submitted to a journal 

  • Most journals now require authors to have an ORCID. 

  • The journal is responsible for assigning the DOI to your article and will provide CrossRef with authors’ ORCIDs when the DOI is registered. 

In your DOI for data and software releases 

  • The USGS DOI Tool is used to assign a unique DOI to USGS data & software releases.  

  • USGS authors are entered separately from non-USGS authors in the DOI Tool, and must have an ORCID associated with their name. The DOI Tool includes a lookup service for USGS authors and their respective ORCIDs. 

In your online USGS Staff Profile 

  • Including your ORCID will help public users of your profile to uniquely associate you to your publications and allow discovery of your other works. 


If I obtained my ORCID when I worked for another organization, can I keep that same ORCID now that I work for USGS? 

Screenshot of an ORCID profile highlighting 'Employment' section.
Screenshot of an ORCID profile, including employment section.

Yes. Your ORCID is tied to you, and not to your employer. The ORCID profile allows you to include your employment history; maintaining that history in the public profile provides insights into your professional affiliations during your publishing career and helps others to identify you. Make sure that you update your ORCID profile to indicate your current affiliation with the 'U.S. Geological Survey'.


Registering for an ORCID

Registering for an ORCID is easy and takes less than 90 seconds. Go to: and work through each of the 3 registration forms: 

Screenshot of ORCID visibility settings
Screenshot of ORCID settings related to visibility.

Form 1: 

  1. First name. 

  2. Last name. 

  3. USGS email. 

  4. Click "Next." 

Form 2 

  1. Set Password. 

  2. Confirm password. 

  3. Request quarterly email updates (optional). 

  4. Click "Next." 

Form 3 

  1. Set the ORCID profile's default visibility setting. "Everyone" is the most flexible default setting and is overridden by any field-level visibility settings applied to the ORCID profile.  

  2. Accept the "Terms of Use." 

  3. Verify "I'm not a robot." 

  4. Click "Register." 

Set up an ORCID profile for a USGS author

Set USGS as your Employer 

Including your USGS affiliation in your profile allows others to definitively distinguish your ORCID from that of others, particularly when your name has changed, or when your name is shared by, or very similar to, the names of other researchers. Follow the steps below to clearly identify a USGS author's ORCID profile and best enable USGS-specific ORCID searches.

  1. Login to your ORCID account:
  2. Under the "Employment" section, click "Add Employment"
  3. Add "U.S. Geological Survey" as the Organization
  4. Complete other required and optional fields
  5. Set Visibility to "Everyone"
  6. Click "Save"

You will be returned to the ORCID profile and USGS should now be listed under "Employment."  


Set your USGS email visibility to "Everyone" 

Setting the USGS email visibility to "Everyone" makes your affiliation public and enables USGS specific ORCID searches and reporting. It will also allow USGS to pull your ORCID into Active Directory. Find the "Emails" section at the bottom of the left column of the ORCID profile and: 

  1. Click on the edit icon next to the "Email" label. 
  2. Verify that the USGS email address is set as the primary email (NOTE: you can associate more than 1 email account with your ORCID account). 
  3. Set the visibility of the USGS email to "Everyone" (i.e., public) using the icons to the right of the USGS email listing. 
  4. Click "Close" to return to your ORCID profile. 


Allow ‘trusted organizations’ to automatically update your ORCid profile with new citations 

Once your USGS email address is publicly visible (or at least visible to ‘trusted organizations’), trusted organizations will email you and ask if you would like them to update your ORCID profile when they encounter a new ‘Work.’ If you haven’t already added this item manually to your ORCID profile, you can click ‘Yes’ in the text of the email.  

You can also tell the sender (e.g., CrossRef, DataCite) if you would like them to make these updates to your profile automatically in the future, or if you want to manually approve each work. If you choose to allow them to update your profile, you will receive an email notification each time they update your profile:  

Screenshot of an email from ORCID
Screenshot of an email from notifying of an updated work.

You can see the source of the entries in your ‘Works’ section by looking at the Source label in each ‘Works’ entry: 

Screenshot of an ORCID profile showing sources
Screenshot of ORCID profile showing source of each work.

Track or revoke permissions for ‘trusted organizations’ in your account settings (Account Settings > Trusted Organizations).  

Screenshot of 'Trusted Organizations' screen in ORCID.
Screenshot of the Trusted Organizations section in an ORCID profile's account settings.

Update your Active Directory record with your ORCID 

The USGS Active Directory (AD) is a system for documenting information about current USGS employees and contractors. Adding your ORCID to your AD record is a great way to help your USGS colleagues look up your ORCID and automatically add it to systems with an AD connection (e.g., USGS DOI Tool). 

The USGS is working on an automated process for ingesting ORCIDs directly from into AD; however, until that connection is finalized, your ORCID will need to be added to AD manually: 

  1. Find your User Account Manager (UAM) or Certified OU Administrator (COUA) by searching for your USGS email address in the AD Lookup Tool while connected to the USGS network. Your UAM and COUA email lists are listed in the Account Detail section of your AD record. 

  2. Email your UAM or COUA with your ORCID in the format XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX and request that they update your AD record. 

  3. Double check that your ORCID has been entered correctly into your AD record, so errors are not propagated to other systems. In the past, incorrect ORCIDs have been submitted to CrossRef and DataCite, and the authorship of the publication or data product was attributed to the wrong person. You want to ensure that you are receiving full and proper credit for your research! 


What the U.S. Geological Survey Manual Requires:

502.4 - Fundamental Science Practices: Review, Approval, and Release of Information Products

"E.  In order to identify USGS authored or funded publications, all authors employed or funded by the USGS are required to register for and obtain an Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID; refer to for registration instructions)."

A. FSP Background and General Guidance

"A.22. Why do USGS scientists need an ORCID iD?

Effective October 1, 2016, all USGS authors (including coauthors) must have a ORCID iD account (set to public) if they publish scientific information products and ORCID iDs are required for Bureau approval of these products in the internal Information Product Data System as stated in SM 502.4. Note that the default setting at does not make an ORCID iD publicly visible; therefore, when creating an ORCID iD, USGS authors need to complete the extra step in the registration process to make their ORCID searchable and publicly visible. The ORCID iD record should also include the author’s USGS email address and USGS employment affiliation, and these two fields should be made “visible to everyone” to ensure proper display of all USGS-authored publication contributions"

Page last updated 2/8/22.