ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is an initiative to build an open, non-profit and community-based registry of unique researcher identifiers used by over 12 million individuals across the globe and 195 organizations in the US. Unique researcher identifiers help your friends (and enemies), institutions (such as your current and future employers) and funding agencies link your research activities and outputs to you, and distinguish them from those of others who have similar names.
With ORCID becoming integrated with an increasing number of assessment tools and application systems (and over 110 publishers), getting your unique identifier through ORCID can, in the future, save you from the frustration of entering the same information over and over again. ORCID is expanding across disciplines and national boundaries, and your ORCID account is tied to you, not to your institutional affiliation, so you can take it with you anywhere. See the open letter committing to requiring ORCID iDs for grant funding.
Your ORCID record is like a CV, but rather than a static document, the data is interoperable with any systems that are ORCID-enabled. You have full control over your data. ORCID is free and will never sell your data.
Whether you have a common name, a unique name, or have changed names over the course of your life, using your ORCID iD when you publish, apply for grants, or report your activities will help to ensure that you get the credit you deserve for your affiliations and contributions.
As an individual, ORCID allows you to: