What is a DOI?

What is a DOI?

A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a unique identifier designed for identifying and locating (online) content.

DOIs are easy to recognise due to their syntax. Each DOI follow this pattern: 10.XXXX/ABC123, where XXXX is a minimum 4-digit number greater than 1000, and ABC123 is an alphanumeric sequence (unconstrained in length and which may contain some punctuation characters).

DOIs are assigned through agencies such as Crossref or DataCite, which, for each DOI, record and make available the essential information about the object (i.e. its metadata) in accordance with the principles of ISO 26324.

What is the purpose of a DOI? What are its benefits?

In addition to unambiguously identifying an object (e.g. a scientific publication or dataset), the DOI also functions as a redirection system.

The URL address www.doi.org/10.XXXX/ABC123 will redirect the user to the object's reference page, where it is usually possible to view the object or at least obtain more information about it. The information linked to a DOI (including the web page to which it redirects) can be updated, thus ensuring the long-term accessibility of the object.

Obtaining a DOI for research data thus ensures its unambiguous identification and facilitates its long-term accessibility. It also allows the data to be easily and unambiguously cited in a publication, e.g. using the DOI citation formatter.

To sum it up, obtaining a DOI, or any other unique and persistent identifier, is a key step in making your data more FAIR.

how to get a DOI (or another unique identifier) for your data? (and for your publications?)

By depositing your data in a data repository. Most assign DOIs, but some use other similar types of unique identifiers (e.g. ARK, Handle, Accession Number, etc.).

At the University of Geneva, a DOI is automatically assigned to each dataset deposited in Yareta. It is even possible to reserve a DOI before the deposit is finalised.

For publications, the Archive ouverte UNIGE can also assign a DOI, for example for research reports, theses or publications that have not already received a DOI through their publisher.