Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) have become a vital part of modern research, providing a persistent and unique identifier for digital objects such as research papers, datasets, and software.
Digital Object Identifiers help to ensure that digital objects can be easily cited, located, and referenced, improving the accuracy and impact of research. However, working with DOIs can be challenging, and there are common mistakes that researchers need to avoid.
In this post, we will explore the most frequently asked questions about DOIs, including how to cite DOIs in research articles, and the difference between Digital Object Identifiers and ORCID identifiers. I will also provide tips for avoiding common mistakes when working with DOIs.
By the end of this post, you will have a comprehensive understanding of DOIs and how to use them effectively in your research, improving the accuracy and impact of your work.
- How Do Digital Object Identifiers(DOIs) Work?
- Difference Between Digital Object Identifiers and ORCID Identifiers
- Benefits of Using Digital Object Identifier
- Finding and Using Digital Object Identifier in Your Own Research
- How do My Research Papers Get Digital Object Identifier Automatically?
- How can I Register Digital Object Identifier Independently?
- Are Digital Object Identifiers Required for all Types of Research Content, such as Datasets and Software?
- Can Digital Object Identifiers be used for Research Content in Languages other than English?
- Can Multiple Digital Object Identifiers be Assigned to a Single Research Article or Dataset?
- How do I find the Metadata Associated with a Digital Object Identifier?
- What are some Common Mistakes to Avoid when Working with Digital Object Identifiers?
- Additional Resources for Digital Object Identifiers
DOI stands for “Digital Object Identifier,” which is a unique alphanumeric string assigned to a research publication or dataset to identify and locate it online. DOIs provide a persistent link to scholarly content, making it easier for researchers to locate and cite specific works.
Digital Object Identifiers are typically used for academic and scientific publications, such as journal articles, conference proceedings, and books. They are assigned by a registration agency such as Crossref, and are typically displayed on the first page of an article, along with the article’s metadata.
Digital Object Identifiers are important because they provide a way for researchers to easily and reliably identify and access research publications, even as content moves across different platforms or websites. They also help to ensure that publications can be properly cited and tracked for scholarly impact metrics.
For example, a Digital Object Identifiers for a journal article might look something like this: 10.1177/00031224211000181. The DOI provides a persistent link to the article, making it easier for researchers to locate and cite the article, even if the article’s URL changes over time.
Digital Object Identifiers are assigned by a registration agency such as Crossref, which is a non-profit organization that provides digital object identifiers for scholarly content. Once a DOI is assigned to a publication, it becomes part of the publication’s metadata and is displayed on the first page of the article, along with other publication information.
In the following sections, we’ll explore how DOIs work, the benefits of using DOIs, and how to find and use DOIs in your own research.
How Do Digital Object Identifiers(DOIs) Work?
Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) provide a persistent link to a specific research publication or dataset, even as the content moves across different platforms or websites. DOIs are assigned by registration agencies such as Crossref, and are typically displayed on the first page of a publication, along with the publication’s metadata.
To understand how Digital Object Identifiers work, let’s take the example of a journal article. When a new article is published, the journal publisher registers the article with a DOI registration agency like Crossref. The registration agency assigns a unique alphanumeric string to the article, which becomes its DOI.
The Digital Object Identifiers is then added to the article’s metadata, along with other information about the article such as the title, author(s), publication date, and abstract. When someone wants to find the article online, they can use the DOI to locate it, even if the article has moved to a different URL.
For example, suppose you’re researching a topic and come across a citation for a journal article that looks interesting. You can use the Digital Object Identifiersto locate the article, even if the journal has moved the article to a new URL.
You can either enter the Digital Object Identifiers into a search engine like Google Scholar, or go directly to the DOI registration agency’s website and enter the DOI into the search box. The registration agency will then provide a link to the article or other relevant information.
Digital Object Identifiers can also be used for other types of research publications, such as conference proceedings, books, and datasets. In each case, the DOI provides a persistent link to the publication, making it easier to find and cite the work.
Difference Between Digital Object Identifiers and ORCID Identifiers
DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) and ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) identifiers are both used in the research community but serve different purposes.
A Digital Object Identifiersis a unique identifier assigned to a digital object, such as a research article, dataset, or software program. Its purpose is to provide a persistent, permanent link to the object that remains stable over time, even if the object’s location or URL changes. This means that a DOI provides a reliable way to locate and reference a digital object, regardless of where it is stored or accessed from.
ORCID, on the other hand, is a unique identifier assigned to individual researchers. Its purpose is to provide a persistent and reliable way to identify and distinguish individual researchers, regardless of changes in their name, institutional affiliation, or research field. ORCID identifiers are used to connect researchers to their research activities, affiliations, and outputs, making it easier to track and attribute their contributions.
While DOIs and ORCID identifiers serve different purposes, they are often used together in the research community. For example, a researcher may include their ORCID identifier in the metadata associated with a research output, such as a journal article, to help establish their authorship and make it easier to connect their work to their ORCID record. Similarly, a DOI may be included in the metadata associated with a researcher’s ORCID record to help establish their contributions to specific research outputs.
Overall, the use of DOIs and ORCID identifiers can help support more efficient, reliable, and comprehensive tracking and attribution of research outputs and contributions.
I have written a blog post on Why ORCID is Important for Research Scholars and Academicians?. Please visit the post for further details.
Benefits of Using Digital Object Identifier
Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) offer several benefits to researchers, making it easier to locate and cite specific works, track scholarly impact metrics, and ensure persistent access to research content.
Firstly,Digital Object Identifiers provide a persistent link to research publications, even as the content moves across different platforms or websites. This makes it easier for researchers to locate specific works, even if the original URL for the publication is no longer valid. For example, if a journal article is moved to a different website or URL, researchers can still find and access the article by using its DOI.
Secondly, Digital Object Identifiers are used to track scholarly impact metrics. Citation metrics such as the h-index, impact factor, and citation count are used to measure the impact of a researcher’s work. DOIs make it easier to track citation metrics by providing a unique identifier for each publication. This allows researchers and publishers to track the number of times a publication has been cited, and to measure its impact on the field. I have written an article on 03 Simple Secrets to Attract Citations for your Research Paper. Please visit the article to unfold the secrets of attracting citations to your research paper.
Digital Object Identifiers help ensure persistent access to research content. For example, suppose a researcher publishes a dataset as part of their research. By assigning a DOI to the dataset, the researcher can ensure that the data will be available and accessible for other researchers to use and build upon in the future.
Even if an author changes their name, the Digital Object Identifierswill remain the same and the paper can still be easily accessed and cited. In addition, DOIs are typically associated with a metadata record that includes information about the paper, such as its title, authors, and publication date, which can help ensure that the paper is correctly attributed to its original author even if its name has changed.
Overall, Digital Object Identifiers provide a reliable and persistent way to identify and access research publications, making it easier for researchers to locate and cite specific works, track citation metrics, and ensure the long-term accessibility of research content.
Finding and Using Digital Object Identifier in Your Own Research
Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are widely used in research publications, making them easy to find and use in your own work. Here are some steps for finding and using DOIs in your own research:
- Look for the DOI on the first page of the publication: Many research publications include the DOI on the first page, along with other publication information such as the title, author(s), and publication date. Look for the DOI in this section of the publication.
- Check the DOI registration agency’s website: If you can’t find the DOI on the first page of the publication, you can try looking it up on the DOI registration agency’s website. Many registration agencies, such as Crossref, offer a search feature that allows you to look up DOIs for specific publications.
- Use the DOI in your citations: When citing a research publication, include the DOI in your citation along with other publication information such as the title, author(s), publication date, and journal or book title. Here’s an example of how to cite a journal article with a DOI:
To cite a Digital Object Identifiers in your research article, you can use the following format:
Author(s). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page numbers. DOI.
Smith, J. and Jones, L. The effects of climate change on biodiversity. Nature, 485(7399), 87-90. doi: 10.1038/nature11018.
In this example, the author names are listed first, followed by the title of the article. The title of the journal is listed next, followed by the volume number and issue number in parentheses. The page numbers of the article are then listed. Finally, the DOI is listed at the end of the citation.
If your research article is referencing a book or other type of content that has a DOI, you can follow a similar format:
Author(s). Title of book. Publisher. DOI.
Johnson, T. The history of medicine. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/med/9780199215491.001.0001.
It’s important to note that the specific citation format may depend on the citation style used in your field of study. Be sure to check with your professor or journal guidelines for specific formatting requirements.
- Use DOIs to track citation metrics: If you’re a researcher, you can use DOIs to track the impact of your own work by measuring citation metrics such as the h-index, impact factor, and citation count. Many citation databases, such as Scopus and Web of Science, allow you to search for publications by their DOIs and track citation metrics for individual works. I have written a separate article on How to Change Author Name on a Previously Published Research Paper?. This article will guide you through the steps required for an author name change on a research paper.
By following these steps, you can easily find and use DOIs in your own research, making it easier to locate and cite specific works, track citation metrics, and ensure the long-term accessibility of research content.
How do My Research Papers Get Digital Object Identifier Automatically?
Journals are typically responsible for assigning DOIs to published research papers. When a paper is accepted for publication, the journal will register the paper with a DOI registration agency such as Crossref.
The agency then assigns a DOI to the paper and includes the metadata associated with the paper, such as the title, authors, and publication date. This information is then made available in the agency’s database, which can be searched and accessed by anyone using the DOI.
Therefore, as a researcher, you don’t need to worry about registering DOIs for your papers – the journal will take care of it for you.
How can I Register Digital Object Identifier Independently?
To register a DOI independently, you will need to use the services of a DOI registration agency. There are several DOI registration agencies that provide DOI registration services, including Crossref, DataCite, and mEDRA, among others. Here are the general steps you can follow to register a DOI independently:
- Choose a DOI registration agency: Research and choose a DOI registration agency that best fits your needs. Consider factors such as cost, service level, and the types of content that the agency can register DOIs for.
- Create an account: Once you have selected a DOI registration agency, create an account on their website. This may require you to provide personal and/or organizational information.
- Register your content: Follow the registration process on the DOI registration agency’s website to register your content. This may involve providing information about the content, such as the title, authors, publication date, and publisher. You may also need to upload a digital object or file that corresponds to the content.
- Pay fees: Many DOI registration agencies charge fees for registering DOIs. Make sure to review the fees associated with your chosen agency and budget accordingly.
- Receive your DOI: After completing the registration process and paying any associated fees, you will receive a unique DOI for your content. This DOI can then be used to identify and cite your content in other research publications and databases.
Note that the specific steps for registering a DOI may vary depending on the DOI registration agency you choose. It’s important to carefully review the registration process and follow the instructions provided by your chosen agency.
Comparison of Fees Charged by Various Digital Object Identifier Registration Agencies
|Agency Name||Registration Fee||Annual Fee||Deposit Required||Maximum Number of DOIs per Deposit||Additional Services|
|Crossref||$1 per DOI||$275 base fee + $0.10 per DOI after first 1000||No deposit required||None specified||Reference linking, Cited-by tracking, Metadata search|
|DataCite||€1 per DOI||€850 base fee + €0.25 per DOI after first 1000||Deposit required for members only||100,000 DOIs per deposit||Metadata quality checks, REST API|
|mEDRA||€1 per DOI||€300 base fee + €0.05 per DOI after first 1000||No deposit required||None specified||Metadata enhancement, Multiple languages support|
|ISTIC||¥8 per DOI||¥1600 base fee + ¥0.15 per DOI after first 10,000||Deposit required for members only||None specified||DOI landing pages, Cross-language search|
|KISTI||KRW 1500 per DOI||KRW 120,000 base fee (up to 20,000 DOIs)||Deposit required||20,000 DOIs per deposit||DOI usage statistics, Metadata API|
|CNKI||CNY 2 per DOI||CNY 3000 base fee + CNY 0.5 per DOI after first 1000||No deposit required||None specified||Cross-language search, DOI assignment for books and conference proceedings|
The information in this table may be subject to change. Fees may also vary depending on factors such as membership status and the specific services requested.
Can I Change the Metadata Associated with a Digital Object Identifier After it has been Registered?
It is possible to change the metadata associated with a DOI after it has been registered, but the process for making changes may depend on the specific DOI registration agency used.
For example, the Crossref DOI registration agency provides a metadata manager tool that allows content providers to make updates to their registered DOIs, such as correcting typos, adding missing information, or updating author affiliations. These changes can be made through a web form or by uploading an XML file with the updated metadata.
It’s important to note that any changes made to the metadata associated with a DOI may take some time to propagate to all of the places where the DOI is used, such as citation databases or institutional repositories.
It’s also a good practice to ensure that any updates made to the metadata associated with a DOI are accurate and reflect the most up-to-date information about the research content.
How Long does it Take for a Digital Object Identifier to be Registered?
The time it takes for a DOI to be registered can vary depending on the DOI registration agency used and the specific workflow they have in place.
Some DOI registration agencies may offer a fully automated registration process that allows DOIs to be registered within minutes of submission, while others may require more manual review and processing that can take several days or even weeks.
For example, the Crossref DOI registration agency typically processes new DOI registrations within a few days of submission, but this can vary depending on the volume of submissions they are receiving at any given time.
It’s important to plan for some lead time when registering DOIs, especially if they will be needed for a specific publication or event, to ensure that the DOIs are available when needed. Some DOI registration agencies may also offer expedited processing for an additional fee, so it’s worth checking with the agency directly to determine the best option for your needs.
Can a Digital Object Identifier be Registered for Research Content that is not yet Published?
It is possible to register a DOI for research content that is not yet published. This is known as preprint publication and is becoming increasingly common in many fields.
A preprint is a version of a research manuscript that has not yet been peer-reviewed or accepted for publication in a formal journal. Preprints are often shared on preprint servers, which are online platforms that allow researchers to share their work with others in their field prior to publication.
Many preprint servers, including arXiv and bioRxiv, are now able to assign DOIs to preprint versions of research manuscripts, which can help to ensure that the content is discoverable and citable even before it is published in a formal journal.
It’s important to note, however, that some publishers have policies regarding preprints and may not allow authors to share preprints of their work prior to publication, or may require that any preprints be removed from public view prior to publication. It’s important to check the policies of the journal or publisher, you plan to submit your work prior to sharing a preprint version.
Are Digital Object Identifiers Required for all Types of Research Content, such as Datasets and Software?
DOIs are not strictly required for all types of research content, but they are increasingly being used for a variety of research outputs beyond traditional journal articles, such as datasets and software.
Many research funders and publishers now require or encourage the use of DOIs for these types of research outputs as a way of improving discoverability and providing a persistent identifier that can be used to track usage and citation metrics.
For example, the DataCite consortium is a DOI registration agency that specializes in assigning DOIs to research data, and many software repositories and other platforms are also now able to assign DOIs to software packages or other code.
Using DOIs for these types of research outputs can help to ensure that they are more easily found and cited by other researchers, and can also help to track the impact and usage of these outputs over time.
Can Digital Object Identifiers be used for Research Content in Languages other than English?
DOIs can be used for research content in any language, not just English. The purpose of a DOI is to provide a persistent and unique identifier for a digital object, regardless of the language it is written in.
When registering a DOI for research content, the metadata associated with the DOI should include information about the language of the content, as well as other important details such as the title of the work, the author or creator, and the publication date.
It’s worth noting, however, that the availability and quality of metadata for research content in languages other than English may vary depending on the DOI registration agency or other indexing services. This can impact the discoverability of the content for researchers who are searching for content in a specific language.
To help improve the discoverability of research content in languages other than English, some DOI registration agencies and indexing services may offer multilingual support or provide search filters that allow users to search for content in a specific language.
Can Multiple Digital Object Identifiers be Assigned to a Single Research Article or Dataset?
No, a single research article or dataset should only be assigned one DOI (Digital Object Identifier). DOIs are intended to provide a persistent and unique identifier for a specific digital object, such as an article or dataset. Assigning multiple DOIs to the same object could lead to confusion and errors in citing or referencing the object, and may cause problems with discoverability or linking.
However, it’s worth noting that some research outputs may have multiple components that each require a separate DOI. For example, a research dataset may consist of multiple files or subsets that each require a separate DOI. In this case, each component of the dataset should be assigned its own unique DOI.
Additionally, it’s possible for an object to be assigned a new DOI if significant changes are made to the object, such as changes to the data or metadata. However, this should only be done in cases where the changes are substantial enough to warrant a new identifier, and the original DOI should be retained and linked to the new DOI to maintain a record of the object’s history.
However, if an author has worked with one concept but has the intention of writing multiple papers and submitting them to multiple conferences without any legal or ethical issues, then there are certain unique strategies that one can adopt. I have written two blog posts that will teach you those unique strategies that will guide you to achieve this goal. Please follow the link below for further details.
How do I find the Metadata Associated with a Digital Object Identifier?
The metadata associated with a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) can typically be found by resolving the DOI using a DOI resolver service. A DOI resolver is a web service that provides a standardized way to look up and retrieve the metadata associated with a DOI. The metadata can include information about the digital object the DOI identifies, such as the title, author(s), publication date, publisher, and digital location.
To find the metadata associated with a DOI, you can follow these steps:
- Copy the DOI you want to look up. The DOI is usually presented as a string of numbers and letters, preceded by “doi:” or “https://doi.org/“.
- Go to a DOI resolver website, such as doi.org or crossref.org. These websites allow you to enter the DOI into a search box to look up its associated metadata.
- Paste the DOI into the search box on the DOI resolver website and click the search button.
- The website should display the metadata associated with the DOI. The specific information provided may vary depending on the type of digital object the DOI identifies.
Alternatively, some research databases or publishing platforms may provide direct links to the metadata associated with a DOI. For example, a journal article that has been assigned a DOI may provide a link to the DOI resolver service in the article’s metadata, allowing readers to quickly and easily access the associated metadata.
What are some Common Mistakes to Avoid when Working with Digital Object Identifiers?
Working with DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) can be straightforward, but there are some common mistakes to avoid to ensure the accurate and effective use of DOIs. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:
- Incorrect formatting: DOIs have a specific format that includes a prefix (often “10.”), a unique string of numbers and letters, and a suffix that indicates the resource type. Make sure that you include the entire DOI, with no typos or missing characters.
- Confusing DOIs with URLs: While DOIs and URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) are both used to identify digital content, they serve different purposes. DOIs are intended to provide a persistent and unique identifier for a specific digital object, while URLs are used to locate that object on the web. Make sure that you are using the appropriate identifier for the purpose you need.
- Using DOIs inconsistently: To ensure the accuracy and consistency of your references, use DOIs consistently throughout your work. This means including DOIs for all digital objects that have them, and avoiding the use of multiple identifiers for the same object.
- Not updating DOIs: If you make significant changes to a digital object, such as updating the data or metadata, you may need to assign a new DOI to the updated version. Make sure to update the associated metadata and reference lists accordingly.
- Not citing DOIs correctly: When citing a digital object that has a DOI, make sure to include the DOI in the citation. Check the citation style guide you are using for the correct format.
- Not resolving DOIs: To ensure that your references are accurate and up-to-date, make sure to resolve DOIs to their associated metadata when citing or referencing digital objects.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your use of DOIs is accurate and effective, helping to improve the accuracy and impact of your research.
Additional Resources for Digital Object Identifiers
Here are some additional resources for researchers who want to learn more about DOIs:
- Crossref website: The Crossref website provides a wealth of information on DOIs, including how to register DOIs for research content, how to retrieve metadata associated with DOIs, and how to use DOIs to enhance the discoverability and accessibility of research publications. The website also offers a variety of resources, such as webinars, case studies, and FAQs, to help researchers better understand DOIs and how they can be used in research.
- DataCite website: The DataCite website is another useful resource for researchers who want to learn more about DOIs. DataCite is an international organization that provides DOIs for research data, making it easier for researchers to share and access research data across different disciplines and platforms. The DataCite website offers a variety of resources, such as guides, webinars, and FAQs, to help researchers better understand DOIs for research data.
- Digital Object Identifier System Handbook: The Digital Object Identifier System Handbook is a comprehensive guide to the DOI system, offering detailed information on how DOIs work, how to register DOIs for different types of content, and how to use DOIs to enhance the accessibility and discoverability of research publications. The handbook is available online and can be downloaded for free.
- CrossRef YouTube channel: The CrossRef YouTube channel offers a variety of videos on DOIs, including tutorials on how to register DOIs, how to use DOIs to enhance research publications, and how to retrieve metadata associated with DOIs. The channel also features interviews with researchers and publishers on how they use DOIs in their work.
These are just a few of the many resources available for researchers who want to learn more about DOIs. By using these resources, researchers can better understand how DOIs work, how they can be used to enhance the impact and accessibility of research, and how to register DOIs for their own research publications and resources.
Digital Object Identifiers are a critical tool for modern research, providing a unique and persistent identifier for digital objects. By using DOIs effectively, researchers can improve the accuracy and impact of their work, ensuring that their research can be easily cited, located, and referenced.
However, working with Digital Object Identifiers can be challenging, and researchers need to be aware of common mistakes to avoid. By following best practices and using resources such as the Crossref website, researchers can register DOIs for their research content and ensure that it is easily discoverable and accessible.
With the increasing importance of digital research, understanding and using DOIs effectively has become a key part of successful research publishing. By mastering the use of DOIs, researchers can ensure that their work is easily and accurately cited and referenced, leading to increased visibility and impact in their field.