Use of author identifier services (ORCID, ResearcherID) and academic social networks (, ResearchGate) by the researchers of the University of Caen Normandy (France): A case study

PLoS One. 2020 Sep 2;15(9):e0238583. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0238583. eCollection 2020.


The purpose of this paper was to assess the presence of researchers on two author identifier services (ORCID and ResearcherID) and to compare the results with two academic social networks ( and ResearchGate) using the categories of discipline, career advancement, and gender in a medium sized multidisciplinary university in France (University of Caen Normandy). Metrics such as number of publications per researcher, h-indexes, and average number of citations were also assessed. Of the 1,047 researchers studied, 673 (64.3%) had at least one profile on the four sites, and the number of researchers having multiple profiles decreased as more sites were studied. Researchers with only one profile numbered 385 (36.8%), while 204 (19.5%) had two, 68 (6.5%) had three, and only 16 (1.5%) had four. ResearchGate had by far the highest number of researchers present, with 569 (54.3%), whereas presence on the other sites was about 15%. We found that, apart from, researchers in Sciences, Technology, and Medicine (STM) were over-represented. Overall, experienced male researchers were over-represented on the sites studied. Our results show that, because of the numerous profiles lacking publication references (particularly on ORCID) and a low presence of researchers on the four sites studied (except for ResearchGate), assessing the number of publications, h-indexes, or average number of citations per article of individuals or institutions remains challenging. Finally, our data showed that French researchers have not adopted the use of the two author identifier sites (i.e. ORCID and ResearcherID). As long as French researchers remain reticent, these sites will not be able to provide the services for which they were created: addressing the problem of author misidentification, consequently providing exhaustive access to scientific production and bibliometric indicators of individual researchers and their institutions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Authorship*
  • Career Mobility
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Publications
  • Research Personnel*
  • Science
  • Social Networking*
  • Universities*

Grants and funding

This research project was supported by the GIS “Réseau des Urfist”.