The issue of uniquely identifying researchers has been receiving a lot of attention in the past week. On Friday Chris Leonard described his vision for a unique author ID service at the PhysMath Central blog. On Tuesday Cameron Neylon posted about the possibility of having a specialist OpenID service for assigning unique identifiers to authors.* There is a lot of interesting follow-up discussion on this post at FriendFeed and a list of relevant resources on the OpenWetWare wiki. Both Andy Powell and Paul Walk have picked up on these items in recent posts. [Postscript: Thanks to Owen Stephens for pointing out that these discussions have been highlighted in a Times Higher Education article this week, too.]
Of course this discussion is all highly relevant and useful to us at the Names Project. We are currently developing a proposal for a continuation of the original Names Project, which would take the prototype we’ve been working on into a pilot authority system over the next two years. Funding permitting, this will allow us to investigate some of the suggestions that have been mooted in the discussions above.
*This was as a result of discussions following Björn Brembs’ presentation at the ScienceOnline09 conference on finding new ways of measuring the impact of researchers’ work.