As a researcher, what is more important to you than a record of your research and scholarship? A Digital Persistent Identifier, or DPI, distinguishes you and your work from that of your peers. Graphic byMiguel Tovar/University of Houston

Every researcher needs a Digital Persistent Identifier.

As a researcher, what is more important to you than a record of your research and scholarship? A Digital Persistent Identifier, or DPI, distinguishes you and your work from that of your peers – and having one will be mandated for those receiving federal funding. Let’s take a deeper look at why this number is so important. We’ll also compare the different platforms— ORCID, Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar — so that you can be sure your publications, presentations, peer reviews and even information about who is citing you are being properly stored and accessed.


There are many types of profiles and DPIs that can meet your needs, but there’s no silver bullet. Placing your work onto multiple platforms is necessary according to Andrea Malone, Research Visibility and Impact Coordinator at UH Libraries. She cautions researchers to “be realistic about how many identifiers you can maintain.”

The most popular is ORCID, which stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID. It’s free to set up, and there is no chance of accidentally or on-purpose having multiple ORCID accounts – it’s assigned to you like a social security number and follows you, the researcher. This comes in particularly especially handy for researchers with common names.

An identifier is federally mandated for those receiving governmental funds. It is not specified that ORCID must be that identifier. For example, according to Malone: “a Web of Science profile also assigns an identifier, which would also satisfy the mandate.” But most researchers choose ORCID because it’s publicly available with no access restrictions.

While an ORCID number is free for researchers, there is a subscription fee for an institution to be associated with ORCID. Information will not pre-populate in an ORCID profile and it doesn’t track citation counts – it only shows what you put in. There are, however, linking wizards that allow you to link from Web of Science and Scopus to your ORCID account. If you choose this option, citations will automatically populate in your ORCID profile. It’s up to the researcher to doublecheck to be sure the information has automated, however.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a profile, not an identifier, so it does not comply with federal funding requirements. It is free, however, and it pulls from the open web. You can choose to have your list of articles updated automatically, review the updates yourself or manually update your articles at any time. Google Scholar also specifies which articles are open access. A PDF or HTML icon will appear on the righthand side of each citation for one to download articles.

Web of Science Vs. Scopus

Scopus is known for covering more journals and a wider range of metrics to evaluate research impact than Web of Science. Different platforms are a go-to for certain disciplines – for example, Web of Science is usually associated with hard sciences, although investigators in the social sciences and humanities also place their work on this platform from time to time. It’s a good idea to check out which platforms others in your discipline are using for their profiles.

Staying up-to-date

Of course, DPIs don’t work as intended unless researchers keep their profiles current. That means you need to check your profile after every publication and every time you switch to a new institution. Just as you would update your CV, you must update your ORCID or other DPI profile.

One tactic Malone suggests is setting a schedule either biweekly or monthly to check all your profiles. “One thing that’s helpful is that with all of them, you can set up alerts and create an alert as often as you want,” Malone goes on. “At that time, the program will scrawl the content within the source and alert you to anytime any of your publications appear in their database.”

The Big Idea

No one tool can paint a complete picture of all your scholarship. Be strategic and intentional about which platforms you use. Consider your audience, the platforms others in your discipline use and make sure you have an ORCID profile to comply with the federal mandate. But be careful not to sign up for more than you can feasibly maintain and keep current.


This article originally appeared on the University of Houston's The Big Idea. Sarah Hill, the author of this piece, is the communications manager for the UH Division of Research.

Nai-Hui Chia, an assistant professor of computer science at Rice, was recognized for his research on Hamiltonian simulations, a method for representing the motion of moving particles. Photo via

Houston professor earns Google Scholar award for quantum computing research

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A Rice University quantum computer scientist was one of 78 global professors to be presented with a 2023 Google Scholar award, the university announced this month.

Nai-Hui Chia, an assistant professor of computer science at Rice, was recognized for his research on Hamiltonian simulations, a method for representing the motion of moving particles. Chia aims to understand if quantum computers or machines can simulate a "Hamiltonian matrix" with a shorter evolution time.

"We call this fast-forwarding for a Hamiltonian simulation,” Chia says in a statement.

Chia aims to use the funds from Google to discover Hamiltonians that can be fast-forwarded using parallelism or classical computation, according to Rice. He will present his current work on Hamiltonians and their connection to cryptology in July at the 2023 Computational Complexity Conference in Warwick, UK.

The Google Research Scholar program grants funds of up to $60,000 to support professors' research around the world. This year's cohort works in fields ranging from algorithms and optimization to natural language processing to health research.

Three other Texas researchers were awarded funds in the 2023 cohort.

The University of Texas at Austin's Jon Tamir was awarded for his work in applied sciences. Atlas Wang, also from UT, was awarded in the machine learning and data mining category. Shenglong Xu, from Texas A&M University, joined Chia in the quantum computing category.

Tech behemoth Google has awarded funds to several Houston innovators in recent years.

Last summer the company named AnswerBite, Boxes and Ease to its inaugural cohort of the Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund. Selected companies received an equity-free $100,000 investment, as well as programming and support from Google.

In September 2022, ChurchSpace and Enrichly were named part of the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund. The companies also received $100,000 non-dilutive awards along with mentoring and support.

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TMC Innovation announces second cohort of promising Danish health tech companies

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A new cohort of scientists from the Texas-Denmark BioBridge has been selected to join a Texas Medical Center Accelerator, joining forces with some of Houston’s best advisers and mentors.

This is the second year that four Danish companies have been chosen to join a special TMC Innovation Accelerator program with plans to bring their technologies to the American market. In a joint press release, the Texas Medical Center (TMC) and the BioInnovation Institute (BII), announced that the participants are scheduled to arrive in Houston on May 13 for their first session, in which they’ll work on US customer validation. After that, they’ll take part in the full program, which will allow the founders to make their plans for strategic development over the course of six months.

Just as the TMC Innovation Factory offers help for founders who have set their sights on success in the US market, the Danish BioInnovation Institute provides life science startups with the connections, infrastructure and financial support necessary to bring their ideas to the public.

The companies selected include:

  • Alba Health is pioneering a gut microbiome test for young children that’s informed by AI.
  • AMPA Medical has created InterPoc, a more discrete alternative to types of stoma bags currently available for ileostomy patients.
  • Droplet IV is a medical device that automatically flushes IV lines, reducing waste and making nurses’ jobs easier.
  • Metsystem is a cancer metastasis platform aimed at predicting what the most effective cancer drug is for each patient.

“We are excited to welcome these startups to TMC as Danish companies are making significant strides in drug discovery and health tech developments” says Devin Dunn, head of the accelerator for Health Tech, in the release. “As they look to expand into the US market, the collaborative environment fostered by our dedicated team, programs, and clinical community will help them advance their innovations, foster research collaborations, and further develop their technologies here in Houston.”

The program for the accelerator is based on the successes of the TMC Innovation (TMCi) Health Tech Accelerator program. The TMC Denmark BioBridge was established in 2019 as a collaboration between TMC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

Houston hospital flies in drone delivery service for medical supplies, prescriptions


A Houston hospital system has announced that it has plans to launch a drone delivery service for specialty prescriptions and medical supplies in 2026.

Memorial Hermann Health System announced that it intends to be the first health care provider in Houston to roll out drone delivery services from San Francisco-based Zipline, a venture capital-backed tech company founded in 2014 that's completed 1 million drone deliveries.

"As a system, we are continuously seeking ways to improve the patient experience and bring greater health and value to the communities we serve. Zipline provides an innovative solution to helping our patients access the medications they need, quickly and conveniently, at no added cost to them," Alec King, executive vice president and CFO for Memorial Hermann, says in a news release.

Zipline boasts of achieving delivery times seven times faster than traditional car deliveries and can usually drop off packages at a rate of a mile a minute. The drones, called Zips, can navigate any weather conditions and complete their missions with zero emissions.

Per the release, the service will be used to deliver items to patients or supplies or samples between its locations.

"Completing more than one million commercial deliveries has shown us that when you improve health care logistics, you improve every level of the patient experience. It means people get better, faster, more convenient care, even from the comfort of their own home," adds Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, co-founder and CEO of Zipline. "Innovators like Memorial Hermann are leading the way to bring better care to the U.S., and it's going to happen much faster than you might expect."

Houston tech founder shines spotlight on small businesses with new awards initiative

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For decades, small businesses have operated in essentially the same manner — handwritten notes to request time off, manual punch cards to clock in, and verbal agreements to swap shifts. And 10 years ago, Houstonian Rushi Patel thought it was time to upgrade these local shops, eateries, and other businesses.

Homebase, which was founded in San Francisco in 2014 and has its largest office in Houston, provides a suite of software tools for employee scheduling, time tracking, communication, and task management for its users, most of which are small businesses.

After a decade of growing its technology and clientbase, Patel, co-founder and COO of the company, explains the unique challenges these small businesses face on the Houston Innovators Podcast — as well as how Homebase helps.

"It's a bit of an orchestra in terms of what entrepreneurs have to do. Your job is to compose a little, but conduct as well," Patel says on the show. "You've built the song of what you want to have happen, but you're conducting lots of different things to make it a reality as a small business owner."

Patel explains how optimizing these personnel aspects of the business frees up founders and managers and improves the employee experience too. Currently, the job market is competitive for these types of businesses, and retention and hiring are major focus points for entrepreneurs.

With 10 years of data and experience of working with small businesses, Homebase introduced a new awards program this week in honor of National Small Business Week. The inaugural Top Local Workplace Awards honored over 50,000 businesses across the country for a range of positive workplace factors — like pay transparency and employee engagement.

"There are over 2 million employee-centric, main street type of businesses in the United States," Patel says, "these are the restaurants, the retailers, and the service providers. They employ north of 70 million people, so there's a lot of impact that these businesses can have. But what we found was they deserve recognition, and there wasn't recognition for the good practices that these employers were doing."

Using its data, which includes over 2.5 million hourly worker data points, Homebase's team implemented the awards to highlight the companies providing their employees — who are in most cases considered a work family, as Patel says — with a great experience.