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Digital object identifier

digital object identifier, digital object identifier apa
A digital object identifier DOI is a type of persistent identifier used to uniquely identify objects The DOI system is particularly used for electronic documents such as journal articles The DOI system began in 2000 and is managed by the International DOI Foundation

DOI means "digital identifier of an object" rather than "identifier of a digital object" Thus DOI stands for "digital object-identifier" rather than "digital-object identifier"

Metadata about the object is stored in association with the DOI name It may include a location, such as a URL, indicating where the object can be found The DOI for a document remains fixed over the lifetime of the document, whereas its location and other metadata may change Referring to an online document by its DOI provides more stable linking than simply using its URL, because if its URL changes, the publisher only needs to update the metadata for the DOI to link to the new URL

A DOI name differs from standard identifier registries such as the ISBN and ISRC The purpose of an identifier registry is to manage a given collection of identifiers, whereas the primary purpose of the DOI system is to make a collection of identifiers actionable and interoperable

Organizations that meet the contractual obligations of the DOI system and are willing to pay to become a member of the system can assign DOIs The DOI system is implemented through a federation of registration agencies coordinated by the International DOI Foundation, which developed and controls the system The DOI system has been developed and implemented in a range of publishing applications since 2000; by late April 2011 more than 50 million DOI names had been assigned by some 4,000 organizations By April 2013 this number had grown to 85 million DOI names assigned through 9,500 organizations The DOI system uses, but is not formally part of, the Handle System


  • 1 Nomenclature
    • 11 Display
  • 2 Applications
  • 3 Features and benefits
  • 4 Comparison with other identifier schemes
  • 5 Resolution
  • 6 Organizational structure
  • 7 Standardization
  • 8 See also
  • 9 Notes
  • 10 References
  • 11 External links


A DOI name takes the form of a character string divided into two parts, a prefix and a suffix, separated by a slash The prefix identifies the registrant of the name, and the suffix is chosen by the registrant and identifies the specific object associated with that DOI Most legal Unicode characters are allowed in these strings, which are interpreted in a case-insensitive manner The prefix usually takes the form 10NNNN, where NNNN is a series of at least 4 numbers greater than or equal to 1000, whose limit depends only on the total number of registrants The prefix may be further subdivided with periods, like 10NNNNN

For example, in the DOI name 101000/182, the prefix is 101000 and the suffix is 182 The "10" part of the prefix identifies the DOI registry, and the characters 1000 in the prefix identify the registrant; in this case the registrant is the International DOI Foundation itself 182 is the suffix, or item ID, identifying a single object in this case, the latest version of the DOI Handbook

DOI names can identify creative works such as texts, images, audio or video items, and software in both electronic and physical forms, performances, and abstract works such as licenses, parties to a transaction, etc

The names can refer to objects at varying levels of detail: thus DOI names can identify a journal, an individual issue of a journal, an individual article in the journal, or a single table in that article The choice of level of detail is left to the assigner, but in the DOI system it must be declared as part of the metadata that is associated with a DOI name, using a data dictionary based on the indecs Content Model


The official DOI Handbook explicitly states that DOIs should display on screens and in print in the format "doi:101000/182" Contrary to the DOI Handbook, CrossRef, a major DOI registration agency, recommends displaying a URL for example, https://doiorg/101000/182 instead of the officially specified format for example, doi:101000/182 This URL provides the location of an HTTP proxy server which will redirect web accesses to the correct online location of the linked item This recommendation is primarily based on the assumption that the DOI is being displayed without being hyper-linked to its appropriate URL – the argument being that without the hyperlink it is not as easy to copy-and-paste the full URL to actually bring up the page for the DOI, thus the entire URL should be displayed, allowing people viewing the page containing the DOI to copy-and-paste the URL, by hand, into a new window/tab in their browser in order to go to the appropriate page for the document the DOI represents


Major applications of the DOI system currently include:

  • scholarly materials journal articles, books, ebooks, etc through CrossRef, a consortium of around 3,000 publishers;
  • research datasets through DataCite, a consortium of leading research libraries, technical information providers, and scientific data centers;
  • European Union official publications through the EU publications office;
  • Permanent global identifiers for commercial video content through the Entertainment ID Registry, commonly known as EIDR

In the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's publication service OECD iLibrary, each table or graph in an OECD publication is shown with a DOI name that leads to an Excel file of data underlying the tables and graphs Further development of such services is planned

A multilingual European DOI registration agency activity, mEDRA, Traditional Chinese content thru Airiti Inc and a Chinese registration agency, Wanfang Data, are active in non-English language markets Expansion to other sectors is planned by the International DOI Foundation

Features and benefits

The DOI system was designed to provide a form of persistent identification, in which each DOI name permanently and unambiguously identifies the object to which it is associated And, it associates metadata with objects, allowing it to provide users with relevant pieces of information about the objects and their relationships Included as part of this metadata are network actions that allow DOI names to be resolved to web locations where the objects they describe can be found To achieve its goals, the DOI system combines the Handle System and the indecs Content Model with a social infrastructure

The Handle System ensures that the DOI name for an object is not based on any changeable attributes of the object such as its physical location or ownership, that the attributes of the object are encoded in its metadata rather than in its DOI name, and that no two objects are assigned the same DOI name Because DOI names are short character strings, they are human-readable, may be copied and pasted as text, and fit into the URI specification The DOI name resolution mechanism acts behind the scenes, so that users communicate with it in the same way as with any other web service; it is built on open architectures, incorporates trust mechanisms, and is engineered to operate reliably and flexibly so that it can be adapted to changing demands and new applications of the DOI system DOI name resolution may be used with OpenURL to select the most appropriate among multiple locations for a given object, according to the location of the user making the request However, despite this ability, the DOI system has drawn criticism from librarians for directing users to non-free copies of documents that would have been available for no additional fee from alternative locations

The indecs Content Model is used within the DOI system to associate metadata with objects A small kernel of common metadata is shared by all DOI names and can be optionally extended with other relevant data, which may be public or restricted Registrants may update the metadata for their DOI names at any time, such as when publication information changes or when an object moves to a different URL

The International DOI Foundation IDF oversees the integration of these technologies and operation of the system through a technical and social infrastructure The social infrastructure of a federation of independent registration agencies offering DOI services was modelled on existing successful federated deployments of identifiers such as GS1 and ISBN

Comparison with other identifier schemes

A DOI name differs from commonly used Internet pointers to material, such as the Uniform Resource Locator URL, in that it identifies an object itself as a first-class entity, rather than the specific place where the object is located at a certain time It implements the Uniform Resource Identifier Uniform Resource Name concept and adds to it a data model and social infrastructure

A DOI name also differs from standard identifier registries such as the ISBN, ISRC, etc The purpose of an identifier registry is to manage a given collection of identifiers, whereas the primary purpose of the DOI system is to make a collection of identifiers actionable and interoperable, where that collection can include identifiers from many other controlled collections

The DOI system offers persistent, semantically-interoperable resolution to related current data and is best suited to material that will be used in services outside the direct control of the issuing assigner eg, public citation or managing content of value It uses a managed registry providing social and technical infrastructure It does not assume any specific business model for the provision of identifiers or services and enables other existing services to link to it in defined ways Several approaches for making identifiers persistent have been proposed The comparison of persistent identifier approaches is difficult because they are not all doing the same thing Imprecisely referring to a set of schemes as "identifiers" doesn't mean that they can be compared easily Other "identifier systems" may be enabling technologies with low barriers to entry, providing an easy to use labeling mechanism that allows anyone to set up a new instance examples include Persistent Uniform Resource Locator PURL, URLs, Globally Unique Identifiers GUIDs, etc, but may lack some of the functionality of a registry-controlled scheme and will usually lack accompanying metadata in a controlled scheme The DOI system does not have this approach and should not be compared directly to such identifier schemes Various applications using such enabling technologies with added features have been devised that meet some of the features offered by the DOI system for specific sectors eg, ARK

A DOI name does not depend on the object's location and, in this way, is similar to a Uniform Resource Name URN or PURL but differs from an ordinary URL URLs are often used as substitute identifiers for documents on the Internet better characterised as Uniform Resource Identifiers although the same document at two different locations has two URLs By contrast, persistent identifiers such as DOI names identify objects as first class entities: two instances of the same object would have the same DOI name


DOI name resolution is provided through the Handle System, developed by Corporation for National Research Initiatives, and is freely available to any user encountering a DOI name Resolution redirects the user from a DOI name to one or more pieces of typed data: URLs representing instances of the object, services such as e-mail, or one or more items of metadata To the Handle System, a DOI name is a handle, and so has a set of values assigned to it and may be thought of as a record that consists of a group of fields Each handle value must have a data type specified in its <type> field, which defines the syntax and semantics of its data

To resolve a DOI name, it may be input to a DOI resolver eg doiorg or may be represented as an HTTP string by preceding the DOI name by the string https://doiorg/ preferred or https://dxdoiorg/ For example, the DOI name 101000/182 can be resolved at the address "https://doiorg/101000/182" Web pages or other hypertext documents can include hypertext links in this form Some browsers allow the direct resolution of a DOI or other handles with an add-on, eg, CNRI Handle Extension for Firefox The CNRI Handle Extension for Firefox enables the browser to access handle or DOI URIs like hdl:4263537/4000 or doi:101000/1 using the native Handle System protocol It will even replace references to web-to-handle proxy servers with native resolution

Alternative DOI resolvers include http://hdlhandlenet, http://doimedraorg, https://doipangaeade/ and http://doaiio The last is unusual in that it tries to find a non-paywalled version of a title and redirects you to that instead of the publisher's version

Organizational structure

The International DOI Foundation IDF, a non-profit organisation created in 1998, is the governance body of the DOI system It safeguards all intellectual property rights relating to the DOI system, manages common operational features, and supports the development and promotion of the DOI system The IDF ensures that any improvements made to the DOI system including creation, maintenance, registration, resolution and policymaking of DOI names are available to any DOI registrant It also prevents third parties from imposing additional licensing requirements beyond those of the IDF on users of the DOI system

The IDF is controlled by a Board elected by the members of the Foundation, with an appointed Managing Agent who is responsible for co-ordinating and planning its activities Membership is open to all organizations with an interest in electronic publishing and related enabling technologies The IDF holds annual open meetings on the topics of DOI and related issues

Registration agencies, appointed by the IDF, provide services to DOI registrants: they allocate DOI prefixes, register DOI names, and provide the necessary infrastructure to allow registrants to declare and maintain metadata and state data Registration agencies are also expected to actively promote the widespread adoption of the DOI system, to cooperate with the IDF in the development of the DOI system as a whole, and to provide services on behalf of their specific user community A list of current RAs is maintained by the International DOI Foundation

Registration agencies generally charge a fee to assign a new DOI name; parts of these fees are used to support the IDF The DOI system overall, through the IDF, operates on a not-for-profit cost recovery basis


The DOI system is an international standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization in its technical committee on identification and description, TC46/SC9 The Draft International Standard ISO/DIS 26324, Information and documentation – Digital Object Identifier System met the ISO requirements for approval The relevant ISO Working Group later submitted an edited version to ISO for distribution as an FDIS Final Draft International Standard ballot, which was approved by 100% of those voting in a ballot closing on 15 November 2010 The final standard was published on 23 April 2012

DOI is a registered URI under the info URI scheme specified by IETF RFC 4452 info:doi/ is the infoURI Namespace of Digital Object Identifiers

The DOI syntax is a NISO standard, first standardised in 2000, ANSI/NISO Z3984-2005 Syntax for the Digital Object Identifier

See also

  • Bibcode
  • Digital identity
  • Metadata standards
  • Object identifier
  • PMID
  • Publisher Item Identifier PII
  • Permalink
  • Scientific literature
  • Universally Unique Identifier UUID


  1. ^ Other registries are identified by other strings at the start of the prefix Handle names that begin with "100" are also in use, as for example in the following citation: Hammond, Joseph L, Jr; Brown, James E; Liu, Shyan-Shiang S May 1975 "Development of a Transmission Error Model and an Error Control Model l" Technical Report RADC-TR-75-138 Rome Air Development Center Bibcode:1975STIN7615344H hdl:1002/ADA013939 


  1. ^ Paskin, Norman 2010, "Digital Object Identifier DOI® System", Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences 3rd ed, Taylor and Francis, pp 1586–1592 
  2. ^ "ISO 26324:2012en, Information and documentation — Digital object identifier system" ISO Retrieved 2016-04-20 DOI is an acronym for 'digital object identifier', meaning a 'digital identifier of an object' rather than an 'identifier of a digital object'  "Introduction", paragraph 2
  3. ^ Witten, Ian H; David Bainbridge & David M Nichols 2010 How to Build a Digital Library 2nd ed Amsterdam; Boston: Morgan Kaufmann pp 352–253 ISBN 978-0-12-374857-7 
  4. ^ Langston, Marc; Tyler, James 2004 "Linking to journal articles in an online teaching environment: The persistent link, DOI, and OpenURL" The Internet and Higher Education 7 1: 51–58 doi:101016/jiheduc200311004 
  5. ^ "How the 'Digital Object Identifier' works" BusinessWeek BusinessWeek 23 July 2001 Retrieved 20 April 2010 Assuming the publishers do their job of maintaining the databases, these centralized references, unlike current Web links, should never become outdated or broken 
  6. ^ a b Davidson, Lloyd A; Douglas, Kimberly December 1998 "Digital Object Identifiers: Promise and problems for scholarly publishing" Journal of Electronic Publishing 4 2 doi:103998/33364510004203 
  7. ^ "Welcome to the DOI System" Doiorg 28 June 2010 Retrieved 7 August 2010 
  8. ^ "DOI® News, April 2011: 1 DOI System exceeds 50 million assigned identifiers" Doiorg 20 April 2011 Retrieved 3 July 2011 
  9. ^ "The Handle System" 
  10. ^ "doi info & guidelines" CrossReforg Publishers International Linking Association, Inc 2013 Retrieved 10 June 2016 All DOI prefixes begin with "10" to distinguish the DOI from other implementations of the Handle System followed by a four-digit number or string the prefix can be longer if necessary 
  11. ^ "Factsheet—Key Facts on Digital Object Identifier System" doiorg International DOI Foundation June 6, 2016 Retrieved 10 June 2016 Over 18,000 DOI name prefixes within the DOI System 
  12. ^ "DOI Handbook—2 Numbering" doiorg International DOI Foundation February 1, 2016 Retrieved 10 June 2016 The registrant code may be further divided into sub-elements for administrative convenience if desired Each sub-element of the registrant code shall be preceded by a full stop 
  13. ^ "Frequently asked questions about the DOI system: 2 What can be identified by a DOI name" International DOI Foundation 17 February 2010 Retrieved 23 April 2010 
  14. ^ "DOI Handbook – Numbering" doiorg 13 February 2014 Section 261 Screen and print presentation Archived from the original on 30 June 2014 Retrieved 30 June 2014 
  15. ^ "DOI Display Guidelines" 
  16. ^ "New Crossref DOI display guidelines are on the way" 
  17. ^ Powell, Andy June 1998 "Resolving DOI Based URNs Using Squid: An Experimental System at UKOLN" D-Lib Magazine ISSN 1082-9873 
  18. ^ Green, T 2009 "We Need Publishing Standards for Datasets and Data Tables" Research Information doi:101787/603233448430 
  19. ^ Timmer, John 6 March 2010 "DOIs and their discontents" Ars Technica Retrieved 5 March 2013 
  20. ^ DeRisi, Susanne; Kennison, Rebecca; Twyman, Nick 2003 "Editorial: The what and whys of DOIs" PLoS Biology 1 2: e57 doi:101371/journalpbio0000057 PMC 261894 PMID 14624257 
  21. ^ Franklin, Jack 2003 "Open access to scientific and technical information: the state of the art" In Grüttemeier, Herbert; Mahon, Barry Open access to scientific and technical information: state of the art and future trends IOS Press p 74 ISBN 978-1-58603-377-4 
  22. ^ "DOI System and Internet Identifier Specifications" Doiorg 18 May 2010 Retrieved 7 August 2010 
  23. ^ "DOI System and standard identifier registries" Doiorg Retrieved 7 August 2010 
  24. ^ International DOI Foundation 2014-08-07 "Resolution" DOI Handbook Retrieved 19 March 2015 
  25. ^ "DOAI" CAPSH Committee for the Accessibility of Publications in Sciences and Humanities Retrieved 6 August 2016 
  26. ^ Schonfeld, Roger C 2016-03-03 "Co-opting 'Official' Channels through Infrastructures for Openness" The Scholarly Kitchen Retrieved 2016-10-17 
  27. ^ "Chapter 7: The International DOI Foundation" DOI Handbook Doiorg Retrieved 8 July 2015 
  28. ^ "Digital object identifier DOI becomes an ISO standard" isoorg 10 May 2012 Retrieved 10 May 2012 
  29. ^ "about_the_doihtml DOI Standards and Specifications" Doiorg 28 June 2010 Retrieved 7 August 2010 
  30. ^ "Overviews & Standards – Standards and Specifications: 1 ISO TC46/SC9 Standards" Doiorg 18 November 2010 Retrieved 3 July 2011 
  31. ^ "ISO 26324:2012" isoorg 23 April 2012 Retrieved 10 May 2012 
  32. ^ "About "info" URIs – Frequently Asked Questions" Info-uriinfo Retrieved 7 August 2010 
  33. ^ "ANSI/NISO Z3984-2000 Syntax for the Digital Object Identifier" Techstreetcom Retrieved 7 August 2010 

External links

  • Official website
  • Short DOI – DOI Foundation service for converting long DOIs to shorter equivalents
  • Factsheet: DOI System and Internet Identifier Specifications
  • CrossRef DOI lookup

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