A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique, persistent identifier (PID) for digital objects, often research outputs such as journal articles or research data, which allows such items to be easily retrieved and cited.
What does a DOI look like?
A typical DOI will be composed of a prefix relating to the organisation (e.g. a library) responsible for assigning it and then a unique alpha-numeric string identifying the object itself. While the combination of the prefix and suffix effectively represent the DOI, its underlying link will need to be further prefixed with the International DOI Foundation’s url in order for it to resolve to the object’s metadata page or catalogue record. At Oxford, a typical DOI might comprise:
- https://doi.org/ (the International DOI Foundation’s url, required to resolve to the object’s record)
- 10.5287/bodleian: (the prefix for the Bodleian Library, which assigns Oxford DOIs)
- xp68kg235 (the digital object’s alpha-numeric suffix, unique when used in conjunction with the Bodleian prefix)
Combined, the DOI will thus look like this: 10.5287/bodleian:xp68kg235, but will resolve to https://doi.org/10.5287/bodleian:xp68kg235
The advantages of having a DOI
- A research output is uniquely identifiable
- The creator of that research will always be identified with it.
- Makes research easy to locate via search engines
- Makes data/articles simple for others to cite
Versioned DOIs, whereby the alphanumeric string may be followed by e.g. .1, .2, .3, and so on to denote version numbers, also allow certain types of research to be added to or amended without the need for a new DOI to be assigned
Getting a DOI
The two most common DOI providers in the UK are DataCite and CrossRef. For journal articles and other similar research outputs, it is usually the publisher of the research rather than a university or library which assigns the DOI, and this will likely be provided by CrossRef.
For information on how to get a DOI in general please see: https://www.doi.org/faq.html
DOIs for data
On submitting research data to ORA, depositors will be offered an option to assign a DataCite DOI through the Bodleian’s licensing agreement with the British Library (the UK’s main DataCite ‘node’), and it is anticipated that theses will also be eligible for DataCite DOIs in the near future.
It is important to note, however, that versioned DOIs cannot yet be assigned by the Bodleian, meaning that certain metadata fields (creator/s, title, publisher, publication date, and unique identifier) cannot be changed once a DOI has been assigned, and that the data itself cannot be added to or amended.
Other persistent identifiers (PID)
All ‘Gold OA’ titles deposited into Oxford University Research Archive (ORA) have a DOI provided by the publisher. However ‘Green OA’ deposited accepted manuscripts and other grey literature (such as working papers etc.) deposited into ORA do not.
The URL for a record in ORA contains a UUID (Universally Unique Identifier) which, in many cases, can act as an acceptable alternative to a DOI. Should researchers wish to direct colleagues to the open version of their work they may use this UUID to link/cite their work.