No, not a flower in the same family as vanilla, rather Open Researcher and Contributor ID or ORCID (pronounced like orchid). Maybe you were asked for one the last time you submitted an article or you have seen colleagues showing off their own unique 16 digit number.
An ORCID identifier works a bit like social security numbers for academic researchers. It can help disambiguate people with the same or very similar names (consider finding articles by a Mark Johnson or worse M. Johnson). It can also help to bring together all of the work from a researcher, even as they change institutions or work across research field boundaries. An ORCID iD can help you to get credit for all that you do.
ORCID iD enables you to bring together those early articles from before you were consistent with using your middle initial or changed your name. ORCID can also help as we engage in global research and encounter naming practices that are different across cultures, sometimes leading to citation errors. Unlike many other tools for collecting scholarly work, such as Google Scholar, Web of Science Researcher ID, Academia.edu and Mendeley, ORCID is a non-profit organization supported by the research community.
Getting an ORCID iD takes less than a minute. You can go to http://orcid.org/ and click "register now" to set one up. After that, you can choose to add some information about yourself and your work or just proceed with using your ORCID iD anywhere you share or engage with research. You will find that an increasing number of journal publishers AGU, PLoS, IEEE, and Science to name a few, are requiring an ORCID iD as part of the submission process. You can also add your identifier to your CV, your website, social media accounts, and more.
Interested in other strategies to share your work or get recognition for all that you do?
Let us know or see this guide on improving your Scholarly and Professional Image Online.