Author identities are a solution for uniquely identifying authors, who can publish under multiple names (including maiden names), have similar names and initials, and be cited in different ways with different citation styles. By connecting publications with these unique identities, authors can reduce ambiguity and ensure proper citation counts and other metrics, improving their research impact. Author identities work like DOIs for digital objects.
Of course, there are several competing tools, though they are beginning to work together to cross-walk their profiles among their competitors.
Google Scholar Citations provide a simple way for authors to keep track of citations to their articles. You can check who is citing your publications, graph citations over time, and compute several citation metrics. You can also make your profile public, so that it may appear in Google Scholar results when people search for your name. You can choose to have your list of articles updated automatically or review the updates yourself, or to manually update your articles at any time. Google Scholar then calculates metrics based on your identified articles: all and recent versions of the h-index, i10-index, and total number of citations.
ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized.
ResearcherID is a website where researchers can register for a free, unique researcher ID number and update their profile information, build their publication list, and make their profile public or private. ResearcherID is owned by the same company as Web of Science: Citation Databases from Thomson and integrates strongly with that database.
The Scopus Author Identifier distinguishes between these names by assigning each author in Scopus a unique number and grouping together all of the documents written by that author.
VIVO is an open-source application that enables researchers to discover, connect, and collaborate across disciplines and organizations. It hosts a set of public-facing profiles for researchers. Trusted, verified data within the profiles is structured and exposed to support searching across individual institutions and across the national VIVO network of more than 100 institutions and agencies in more than 30 countries who are collaborating to produce and use VIVO-compliant data.