Digital object identifiers (DOI) and other persistent identifiers (PID)

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

A digital object identifier (DOI) is a type of unique, persistent identifier (or PID) specifically for digital objects. It is often used for research outputs such as journal articles or research data, allowing them to be easily retrieved and cited.

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What does a DOI look like?

A typical DOI consists of a prefix identifying the organisation responsible for assigning it (such as a library) plus a unique alphanumeric string identifying the object itself.

To link to the object’s metadata page or catalogue record, these are combined with the International DOI Foundation’s URL.

At Oxford, a typical DOI might comprise:

  • (the International DOI Foundation’s URL)
  • 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 look like this: 10.5287/bodleian:xp68kg235, but will resolve to

The advantages of having a DOI

  1. It makes your research output uniquely identifiable.
  2. As the author of that research, you will always be identified with it.
  3. It makes research easy to locate via search engines.
  4. It makes data or articles simple for people to cite.

Versioned DOIs

Versioned DOIs allow you to add to or amend certain types of research without needing to assign a new DOI. In this case, the alphanumeric string is followed by the version number (1, 2, 3 and so on). 

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Getting a DOI

The two most common DOI providers (registration agencies) in the UK are DataCite and CrossRef. 

For journal articles and similar, it is usually the publisher of the research which assigns the DOI, and this is usually provided by CrossRef. DataCite is generally used for data.

You can find more information about getting a DOI on the DOI Foundation website.

DOIs for data

When you submit research data to ORA, you 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’). We expect that theses will also be eligible for DataCite DOIs in the future.

Note: the Bodleian cannot yet assign versioned DOIs. This means that some metadata fields (creator/s, title, publisher, publication date and unique identifier) cannot be changed once a DOI has been assigned. It also means that you cannot add to or amend the data.

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Other persistent identifiers (PID)

Universally Unique Identifier (UUID)

If you deposit a published item into Oxford University Research Archive (ORA), it will have a DOI provided by the publisher. ‘Green’ open access deposits like accepted manuscripts and other grey literature (such as working papers) will not have this.

However, the URL for a record in ORA contains a UUID (Universally Unique Identifier) and, in many cases, this works as an acceptable alternative to a DOI. You can use this UUID to link to your research outputs and other people can use it to cite the work.

ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID)

An ORCID is a PID for individual researchers, not outputs. ORCID iDs are unique researcher identifiers, designed to help you identify yourself when submitting publications or grant applications and to ensure your research outputs are correctly attributed to you.

Find out more about ORCID

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