As scholarly communications became digital, Open Access and, more broadly, open research, emerged among the most exciting possibilities of the academic Web. However, these possibilities have been constrained by phenomena carried over from the print age. Information resources dwell in discrete silos. It is difficult to connect authors and others unambiguously to specific outputs, despite advances in algorithmic matching. Connecting funding information, datasets, and other essential research information to individuals and their work is still done manually at great expense in time and effort. Given that one of the greatest benefits of the modern web is the rich array of links between digital objects and related resources that it enables, this is a significant failure. The ability to connect, discover, and access resources is the underpinning premise of open research, so tools to enable this, themselves open, are vital. The increasing adoption of resolvable, persistent identifiers for people, digital objects, and research information offers a means of providing these missing connections. This article describes some of the ways that identifiers can help to unlock the potential of open research, focusing on the Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID), a person identifier that also serves to link other identifiers.