Partially Attended

an irregularly updated blog by Ian Mulvany

Identity systems, science and the internet

Thu Feb 4, 2010

295 Words
I just posted the following on a forum
( on Nature
Network, I thought it was interesting enough to repost:

Bruce Schneier yesterday posted a very "interesting
that gets to the heart of identity systems on the web. The bottom line
of the article is that anonymity will always be a given as the price
for introducing verification or coining systems will always be too
high, and even if present they won't be effective. Of course it is
just exactly such a system that ORCID is proposing to introduce. I
think there is a chance that it will work, as I believe that the
incentive system in science is stacked in favour or real identities,
however it does point to the idea that rather than real identities,
when we deal with online transactions (be they knowledge transactions
or social transactions), it is rather the scientific persona that we
should be supporting rather than nessecarrily the real identity of the

That idea ties in with a discussion that has been going on in network
about whether we should allow personyms, and I read this other "very
good piece":
on that topic in the past week too which supports the idea of allowing
personyms, so long as they can be ascribed a trust score, but baulks
at the idea of forcing users to use their real identity.

For the good foreseeable future scientific identities are going to be
tied to real identities, but does anyone know of cases where
scientists have done good, acknowledged work under a pseudonym? Could
we imagine such a thing happening in the future? I know that sounds a
bit far fetched, but it's happened already in the open source
community a number of times, notably with "why the lucky

tags: identity, science, ORCID

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License