As pointed out to me a number of times the use of ORCID.org IDs is rapidly growing:
Oct 16, 2012: 0
Nov 21, 2014: 1,011,557
March 4, 2016: 2,014,645
(stats via Martin Fenner @mfenner)
Which I don’t need to point out is a good thing. But…..
After a tip off by @generalising (Andrew Gray) on Twitter – I don’t believe all this growth reflects actual bona fide researchers. Want some proof? Try searching for ‘laywers’ and you’ll see that there are a LOT of spam accounts:
Each of the spam accounts looks to be a real business with URLs – something strange is definitely going on. It’s not just lawyers, but Taxi firms, Pizza restaurants, Plumbers. Try it for yourself. Dry cleaning? Sure ORCID has it covered:ORCID is turning into the Yellow Pages.
If I didn’t know any better then I’d say that ORCID is being used as a link farm for Search Engine Optimisation. Which is not really a good reflection on ORCID.org at all. I’ve pointed out a dozen spam accounts to firstname.lastname@example.org, but other than remove these specific accounts they don’t seem to be tackling the underlying problem. I’ve not looked at how prolific the problem is, but just a visual inspection shows that it is very widespread. So how many of those 2 million IDs are genuine? I really don’t know, and unless ORCID care to comment we’ll never find out.
If I was ORCID.org I’d be a bit more bothered about being used like this and made to look unprofessional, but to borrow a brilliant Polish phrase – ‘Not my Circus, Not my Monkeys’.