Digital Object Identifier

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A Digital Object Identifier ( DOI ; German digital object identifier ) according to ISO 26324 is intended to be a unique and permanent digital identifier for physical, digital or abstract objects. It is mainly used for online articles in scientific journals. The organization that is also responsible for the respective object is responsible for the integrity and durability of a DOI. The DOI system is based on the handle system and, to put it simply, is comparable to ISBN and ISSN , but should go beyond this with an integrated localization function.


The purpose of DOIs is to be able to use them to permanently refer to digital objects.

This is achieved by assigning each object a unique and permanently valid name ( identifier ). This can be used to query the URL under which the object is currently accessible from a central database . Several URLs can also be stored; When accessing the object, all URLs are then listed first. The DOI is used to save metadata about the referenced object. The metadata must correspond to the scheme of the respective registration agency (e.g. Crossref , DataCite ). This is illustrated below using the example of Datacite. The latest version of the metadata for the object can also be queried.

A technical safeguarding of the integrity is not provided. Up to the current version 4 of the metadata schema (status: Sept. 2017) no checksum is provided. The metadata can be changed as required, a listing of the change history is not provided. After a DOI has been assigned, a digital object can be changed or replaced as required.

DOIs are intended to solve the problem of dead links by ensuring that objects still remain accessible under their DOI after their URL has been changed. The prerequisite for this, however, is that the entry in the central database is updated every time a URL is changed. The responsibility for updating lies with the organization, which is also responsible for storing the digital object and the URL.

The central database in which the identifiers and URLs are stored is operated by the International DOI Foundation . According to the data protection declaration, the operators save the following: “ Our logs collect and store only domain names or IP addresses, dates and times of visits, and the pages visited.


The structure and structure of the digital object identifier are described in the international standard ISO 26324: 2012. DOI names always start with 10. and have the form 10.ORGANIZATION / ID , whereby organizations (especially publishers ) are each assigned their own number (starting with 1000) and can assign the ID themselves. Different organizations use different schemes here: some use the ISBN, sometimes objects are simply numbered consecutively. The upper or lower case of letters within DOI names is irrelevant.

As Uniform Resource Identifiers , DOIs are preceded by the schema identifier doi: so that they have the form doi: 10.ORGANIZATION / ID .

In a publication that is identified by a DOI (e.g. doi: 10.1371 / journal.pbio.0020449 ), further DOIs can in turn identify parts; in the example given you can find an illustration with doi: 10.1371 / journal.pbio.0020449.g001 . This is particularly common with articles in a journal or chapters in a book. However, one cannot generally assume that a DOI can be shortened at a point or a slash in order to get to such a "superordinate object", since there is no fixed scheme here.


DOI 10.1000 / 182 identifies document 182 with organization 1000 (the DOI foundation itself). This is the DOI manual. It can be found on the Internet by either entering the DOI in the DOI Foundation's input mask (DOI resolver) or by entering the URL directly

calls. To do this, remove any existing doi: prefix and replace it with the URL of the DOI server . However, the website found in this way is typically not the referenced document itself, but a page about the corresponding document, with the option of downloading or purchasing it.

Selection of registered organizations
DOI prefix owner
10.1016 Elsevier
10.1055 Thieme Publishing Group
10.1038 Nature Publishing Group
10.1007 Springer publishing house
10.1098 Royal Society
10.1111 John Wiley & Sons : Blackwell Publishing
10.1093 Oxford University Press
10.1002 John Wiley & Sons : Wiley-Blackwell
10.1021 American Chemical Society
10.1136 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
10.1080 Informa UK ( Taylor & Francis )
10.1128 American Society for Microbiology
10.1001 American Medical Association
10.1088 Institute of Physics
10.1073 National Academy of Sciences
10.1063 American Institute of Physics
10.1109 IEEE
10.1145 Association for Computing Machinery


Although it is officially recommended to give DOIs as a full URL , strictly speaking only the part that starts with 10 is the DOI. The part before that is a HTTP - proxy lists, which you DOI resolver. DOI resolvers resolve a DOI, i. That is, they redirect the web browser or other web client to another website by sending an HTTP response that includes the Location: header followed by a destination URL.

The IDF resolver ( or does not always have to be used as a DOI resolver, e.g. B. can also be hdl.handle.netused. In addition, some DOI registration agencies offer their own DOI resolvers, e.g. B. the mEDRA and the PANGEA project.

The resolver integration of the Unpaywall project starts a search for a freely available version of the referenced document based on the DOI and, if successful , forwards it directly to this. Unpaywall uses scientific content from over 50,000 specialist journals and open access document servers worldwide .


DOIs are available for most of the scientific articles since the year 2000, but some also go back to the founding of the journals. The DOI of an article can be determined from the responsible publisher and can usually be found on the publisher's official website for the article.

Some reference management programs can import the metadata of an article by entering the DOI . If a DOI has been specified for an article, the associated website can often be displayed directly. Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia use DOIs in references and as Wikidata property: P356 .

In connection with the PANGEA data system , the Technical Information Library was the first institution to use DOIs in 2005 for the registration of research data sets . The US Entertainment Identifier Registry EIDR uses the DOI prefix 10.5240. The prefix 10.17487 has existed for RFCs since 2015 .

DOI and other special identifiers can help unify or find information about identical references with different spellings in different language versions of Wikipedia.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Contract for the provision of Digital Object Identifiers (DOI). (PDF) TIB Hannover, accessed on September 24, 2017 . Page 2, Section 3: Rights and obligations of the DZ [data center]
  2. Sam Sun, Larry Lannom, Brian Boesch: Handle System Overview . RFC 3650 November 2003.
  3. Sam Sun, Sean Reilly, Larry Lannom: Handle System Namespace and Service Definition . RFC 3651 November 2003.
  4. Sam Sun, Sean Reilly, Larry Lannom, Jason Petrone: Handle System Protocol (ver 2.1) Specification . RFC 3652 November 2003.
  5. For the differences between the schemes cf. Christian Gutknecht, DOIs and extensive metadata at Crossref. October 13, 2019, accessed August 26, 2020 .
  6. DataCite Metadata Scheme. DataCite, Metadata Working Group, accessed September 24, 2017 .
  7. DataCite Metadata Scheme 4.0. DataCite, Metadata Working Group, September 19, 2016, accessed September 24, 2017 .
  8. DataCite API v2 for datacentres. DataCite, accessed September 24, 2017 .
  9. Privacy Policy. International DOI Foundation, accessed July 24, 2017 .
  10. ISO 26324: 2012. Information and documentation - Digital object identifier system. In the ISO catalog
  11. The Topmost Cited DOIs on Wikipedia ( Memento from June 25, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), April 10, 2014
  12. In: . Corporation for National Research Initiatives, accessed on September 18, 2017 (English, example: ).
  13., ( Memento from August 6, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) multilingual European Registration Agency of DOI.
  14., Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science based in Germany.
  15. Link Resolver Integrations. In: January 10, 2020, accessed April 22, 2020 .
  16. Frequently Asked Questions. In: Retrieved April 22, 2020 .
  17. H. Neuroth, A. Oßwald, R. Scheffel, S. Strathmann, M. Jehn: nestor manual: A small encyclopedia of digital long-term archiving (Version 2.0), 2009: Chapter 9.4.2 "The Digital Object Identifier (DOI)" .
  18. About EIDR. In: . Entertainment Identifier Registry, accessed September 18, 2017 ( Wikidata Property: P2704 ).
  19. ^ John R. Levine: RFC 7669 - DOIs for RFCs . October 2015