In order to conduct research in Africa—and to regulate and ensure quality in the science, technology, and innovation sector—every researcher must obtain a government license. To support this requirement, the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) provides research licensing, registration of research institutions in Kenya, and accreditation of research institutions. With such a diverse and complex mission, both NACOSTI and African researchers face many challenges.

Navigating a challenging ecosystem

Before integrating with ORCID, researchers were juggling numerous profile systems, spending too much time on manual data entry (which also invited data errors), managing a heavy administrative burden, dealing with misattributed research output, and worrying about lack of control over their own personal data.

NACOSTI, too, felt the pressure of working in a highly siloed environment, managing report latency, and struggling with the need to increase visibility and discoverability.

A pioneer in open research

In response to the challenges faced by researchers, NACOSTI—one of the African pioneers of ORCID adoption—developed an integration that enables the collection of ORCID iDs (with researcher permission) and imports them into the Research Information and Management System (RIMS) portal. As a result, researchers each have a unique, persistent identifier and they have also benefited from the name disambiguation ORCID provides.

By integrating with ORCID, researchers in Africa… (Nabil Ksibi How have they benefited?)

As open research in Kenya grows in popularity—especially in the areas of higher education and academia—ORCID adoption has increased as well. ORCID Membership in Kenya represents a diverse group of constituents, including PAMJ in publishing, Strathmore University in higher education, The African Academy of Sciences in funding, and NACOSTI as a key supporter of open research.


As outlined in the portal demo presentation given when launching their integration, NACOSTI also chose ORCID for a host of additional reasons, including:

  • ORCID is a platform-neutral not-for-profit organization
  • ORCID provides an international service that integrates with other researcher identifiers
  • The ORCID Registry is free so researchers can create profiles at no cost
  • ORCID provides open data, software, APIs, and documentation

Plans for the future

As pioneers do, NACOSTI is already planning an ORCID integration upgrade that will link more data to and from researchers’ records.