Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

Referencing and interoperability

What are DOIs? What are they used for?

Definition

Digital object identifiers (DOIs) are a mechanism to identify digital resources, such as journals, scientific articles, reports, videos, etc. They are sometimes likened to ISSNs and ISBNs for the web, but they are also an alternative to the instability of URLs because they combine the location of the document and the metadata associated with it.

Metadata included in a DOI

A unique DOI is attributed to each resource and will not be reused. It is established by registering the metadata associated with the digital resource.  The following information is registered:

For a journal:

  • Full name and shortened name
  • Digital ISSN
  • URL of the journal

For an article:

  • date in the format day/month/year
  • URL of the article
  • language of the article
  • title and translated title
  • author(s) and their role (collaborator, etc.)

For a book:

  • language
  • author
  • title
  • subtitle
  • date of print publication (= year of publication)
  • date of digital publication
  • print ISBN
  • digital ISBN
  • publisher
  • URL

For a chapter (registered as part of a book):

  • title 
  • subtitle
  • author
  • page range
  • URL

For the depositary:

  • name
  • contact details

DOIs therefore link the metadata of the journal, book, or document (article, chapter, etc.) and the web location of the resource. They make it easier for databases and bibliographic management software to operate and also make it easier to track a resource in the digital world.

The corollary of this system is the generation of a permanent identifier, even if the resource is moved in the future. It is important to make sure that the resource can be permanently located in order to integrate databases and avoid duplication and the deletion of documents.

Like URLs, DOIs are structured codes that start with the code of the organization that is responsible for disseminating the resource, followed by the document identifier.

DOIs on OpenEdition Journals

DOIs requested by OpenEdition are composed of:

  • the code 10.4000, standing for OpenEdition
  • the short name of the journal
  • the identifier of the issue or article

Examples:

The journal Cybergeo on journals.openedition.org

URL: http://journals.openedition.org/​cybergeo/​22699

DOI: 10.4000/cybergeo.23737

Complete reference: Hovig Ter Minassian, “La réhabilitation thermique des bâtiments anciens à Paris : comment concilier protection du patrimoine et performance énergétique ?”, Cybergeo : European Journal of Geography [online], Aménagement, Urbanisme, document 536, uploaded 30 May 2011, consulted 28 October 2011. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/​23737; DOI: 10.4000/cybergeo.23737

DOIs are displayed in the articles included in journals on the portal:

In the left-hand top bar, under the “DOI/Reference” tab (example: http://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/23737)

in the “To cite this article” section, under the article 
http://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/23737#quotation

DOIs on OpenEdition Books

The DOIs requested by OpenEdition are composed of:

  • the code 10.4000/books, standing for OpenEdition
  • the name used to form the publisher’s URL
  • the identifier of the book or document

Examples:

OpenEdition Press 
URL: http://books.openedition.org/​oep/​332

DOI: 10.4000/books.oep.332

Complete reference: ERTZSCHEID, Olivier. Qu’est-ce que l’identité numérique ? Enjeux, outils, méthodologies. New edition [online]. Marseille: OpenEdition Press, 2013 (generated 01 June 2016). Available at: <http://books.openedition.org/​oep/​332>. ISBN: 9782821813380. DOI: 10.4000/books.oep.332

The DOIs are displayed:

In the left-hand top bar, under the “DOI/Reference” tab (example: http://books.openedition.org/oep/332)

in the “ Cite” section

How do I use DOIs?

To flag a resource

DOIs must be included in the citation references of documents on the internet, particularly at the end of bibliographic references.

Example: 
Hovig Ter Minassian, “La réhabilitation thermique des bâtiments anciens à Paris : comment concilier protection du patrimoine et performance énergétique ?”, Cybergeo : European Journal of Geography [online], Aménagement, Urbanisme, document 536, uploaded on 30 May 2011, consulted on 28 October 2011. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/23737DOI: 10.4000/cybergeo.23737

To find a resource

There are several “DOI resolvers” available. Their role is similar to search engines except that they allow you to find the resource corresponding to a DOI (although access restrictions still apply). Several solutions are possible (see the complete list on doi.org), including the following:

In the URL bar of the browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.), paste the address of the resolver in front of the DOI:

Example: 
dx.doi.org/10.4000/cybergeo.23737

Go to the resolver homepage, as you would a search engine, and type in the DOI:

Examples of DOI resolvers:
dx.doi.org
www.medra.org

Download a Chrome plugin like “DOI Resolver” or a Firefox plugin like “CNRI Handle Extension for Firefox”. Using this you can paste the resolver’s acronym in front of your DOI in the browser search bar and wait for the resource to appear. “doi:” takes the place of “http://”.

Example:
doi:10.4000/clio.9995
for http://journals.openedition.org/clio/index9995.html

DOIs, eISSNs and eISBNs: Redundant or complementary?

The identification of digital resources is an important aspect of the internet’s development. In this context, the system for resolving identifiers using DOIs acts as a “meta-identifier”.

The DOI system combines the descriptive metadata relating to the distributor, the journal or the publisher, and the document, as well as the eISSN, which repeats the information contained in the latter.

DOIs thus provide a metadata environment that complements rather than contradicts eISSNs and eISBNs. The storage of DOIs and linked metadata in databases opens up the possibility of cross-referencing or displaying several locations for the same resource, which is not possible using eISSNs.

How do I acquire DOIs?

DOIs are managed by agencies (for example, CrossRef and Medra). See the complete list on the site of the DOI Foundation).

Since 2009, OpenEdition has committed to obtaining DOIs for the documents it publishes. We have chosen CrossRef for this purpose. CrossRef is the reference agency for the “research” sectors and for journal articles, books, conferences, etc., as well as for cross-referencing metadata.

There is an annual subscription fee to be able to request DOIs (see CrossRef fees). This fee is paid for by OpenEdition.

A few links to find out more about DOIs

Presentations of DOIs (en)

The Wikipedia DOI article (English version)
What is the DOI?” by Content Directions, pdf (2000) or the full website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1220/presentation1

Reference sites (en)

The official DOI.org site: http://www.doi.org/
The official CrossRef site: http://crossref.org/
The official Medra site: http://www.medra.org/


Image à la Une : Picture by Andrew Buchanan on Unsplash.


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