Personal/Open source

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The Problem

ORCID, “open research contributor ID” is a persistent digital identifier that is used to track contributions to scientific publications. It is the equivalent of an ISBN for a researcher. In addition, integrating ORCID with social media tools like Wikipedia will – in the future – provide a way to uniquely identify experts’ contributions to public knowledge beyond scholarly publications. As an increasing number of researchers use blogs, it will also be useful to be able to associate posts (and comments) with a particular researcher with a known body of work.

Andy Mabbett (@pigsonthewing) and Roy Boverhof (@ServerDotBiz) conceived and wrote the first version of a WordPress plugin that would associate ORCID numbers with WordPress authors (for both posts and comments).

My Role

The first version allowed the user (or commentor) to enter an ORCID number (0000-0003-4628-6721) which would – hopefully – link to their ORCID profile. I began by ensuring that only text fitting the format of an ORCID number could be submitted, and covered cases where users entered the full URL by mistake. These checks included form validation at both the server and browser level.

I also wrote code that checks the ORCID number against the ORCID API to ensure that it is valid, and returns the researcher’s name to display in place of the number.

I then built out a settings page which allowed blog users (with at least edit privileges) to control the positioning and behavior of ORCID numbers (in posts vs comments) and added a shortcode option. An option was also added to automatically approve comments that link to valid profiles.