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Parent issue: Uniquely identifying RFC author

Size (time): TBD

Importance/Urgency: Low/Low

Problem Statement: Names are an inadequate method for uniquely identifying individuals, a fact that has caused some concern in the IETF community. The issues include an inability to find an author that may have moved to another address or organization, an inability to track an individual's work across multiple documents, and even finding the “right” Joe Smith to ask for more information on a topic covered in the RFC.

Unfortunately, fully tracking individuals across documents, organizations, and locations, introduces fundamental questions regarding the nature of the IETF (the largest source of authors for the RFC Series), questions about privacy, life cycles of information, and more. A full identity management system to track authors is beyond the resources and the mandate of the RFC Editor.

Some alternatives have been suggested, including allowing authors to include a unique, third-party persistent identifier in their Author Address section. One such identifier, geared primarily towards the academic research community but open to all, is ORCID. There may be others of interest, but the ORCID id has some support (and some opposition) in the IETF community - see the IETF discussion list thread here.

One consideration to add to the mix: ORCID ids are increasingly recognized in the research community and may be a way to help promote the scholarly reputation of the Series by using something that community recognizes as a tool for that community.

Expanding what we allow in the Author Address section, while not a terrible idea, is something that should be approached with some thought. If we allow something like ORCID, would we allow LinkedIn URLs (already allowed, but not encouraged and rarely used)? Or pointers to personal bio pages (also allowed, but rarely used)? Or pointers to company websites that sell things?

RSE Actions:

  • Fully review the pro's and con's of allowing a new field in the Author Address section
  • Review ORCID, its business model and long-term viability
  • Research other possibilities in the field

RSOC Actions:

  • review results and recommendations of the RSE

RFC Production Center & Publisher Actions:

  • implement changes, as necessary


Financial: TBD

Project schedules: TBD

Reputation: TBD

Estimated completion date: n/a

author_id.txt · Last modified: 2013/10/02 03:10 by rsewikiadmin