What's a DOI?

Have you noticed the alphanumeric string that appears after the letters “doi” in full-text Medline articles? That string is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI).  It contains descriptive information and a permanent link to an electronic document or object, unlike a URL that may change over time.

The system is managed by the International DOI Foundation, an open membership consortium that includes both commercial and non-commercial partners and is implemented by Registration Agencies (RAs).  The RAs allocate DOI® name prefixes, register DOI names and provide the necessary infrastructure for quality assurance.

4 Responses to What's a DOI?

  1. Maryalice Jordan-Marsh says:

    please consider adding how the doi helps us. Can we search for an article if only have doi and author/title?

    Doi is not a notation limited to Medline

    note that in APA the topic is DOI, but the reference string is lower case

    there are some sites that help you find a DOI if one is not easily found or if have previous list.

    Do books have dois?

    are publishers in medical/health journals expecting us to suppy doi with our manuscripts?

  2. norrislib says:

    • “The DOI System is designed as a generic framework applicable to any digital object [and] may be assigned to any item of intellectual property in any medium. DOI names can identify creative works (such as texts, images, audio or video items, and software) in both electronic and physical forms. 1 The advantage of a DOI name is its unique identification of an object and it’s persistence through time.
    • The DOI for a given content item must be created and assigned by the publisher or other organization with authority to register DOI on the publisher’s behalf. Only organizations that can meet the contractual obligations of the DOI system and that are willing to pay to become a member of the system can assign DOIs3. Individuals are not expected to assign DOIs to articles submitted for publication2.

    • “DOIs, along with volume, issue and page numbers, should be part of the standard bibliographic metadata for an article and should be displayed in bibliographic headers for online AND print articles. In citations, DOIs should be presented as doi:10.1038/35016083 (doi should be lowercase and no space should be between the doi: and the start of the DOI string). Wherever possible, the DOI should be an active link.

    • …DOI[s] in text or header information can [be] resolved…by embedding it in an HTTP hyperlink to the DOI proxy, http://dx.doi.org, which redirects the DOI to the currently registered location for this content item. For example, doi:10.1006/jmbi.1998.2354 can be resolved as http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jmbi.1998.2354. If you click on this link, you will arrive at the appropriate response page for this article at the Journal of Molecular Biology web site. There you will see that the DOI is included in article header information or on the title page. To include the DOI in a citation to this article, you simply append it at the end, prefaced by “doi:” as follows: Brian G. Turner, Michael F. Summers. “Structural Biology of HIV.” Journal of Molecular Biology, 285(1), pp. 1-32. doi:10.1006/jmbi.1998.2354.”4

    1The DOI System http://www.doi.org/about_the_doi.html
    2 Davidson, Lloyd A.; Douglas, Kimberly (December 1998), “Digital Object Identifiers: Promise and problems for scholarly publishing”, Journal of Electronic Publishing 4 (2) doi:10.3998/3336451.0004.203
    3Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_object_identifier
    4 “DOI Name Information and Guidelines”. CrossRef. January 22, 2009. Web. Accessed September 15, 2010. http://www.crossref.org/02publishers/doi-guidelines.pdf

  3. Theresa Stueve says:

    We should be able to search the NML journal database by article DOI. Other medical libraries I have utilized feature ‘search by DOI’ tools prominently in their databases. DOIs are more often provided than PMIDs in citations for articles found by general search.

  4. norrislib says:

    Users can search by DOI as well as PMID in both PubMed@USC and OVID SP Medline. Since search fields are determined by the publishers of each database, Norris Library isn’t able to add this function at its discretion.

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