What is Digital Object Identifier (DOI)?

by Adam Milward , March 10th, 2021

What is Digital Object Identifier (DOI)?

After you publish a dataset, you must locate and browse its contents. We created Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) specifically to identify resources over digital networks and simplify the process of citing resources, such as datasets, making them more identifiable.

DOIs are unique references that provide information about an object (a resource) and how to access it. These objects or resources can include a journal paper or a dataset. These permanent identifiers will direct you to a web page where you can access the necessary data.

DOIs prove beneficial in the publication of datasets and are increasingly becoming the standard practice for linking to and citing datasets.


Reliability: In the data environment, reliability is crucial. Not only does the data need to be reliable, but also its sources for it to be effective and trustworthy.

Publishing a dataset with a web address citation poses risks as the web address can change over time and subsequently fail. If the contents of the dataset change, people following the link may encounter a dead page, unable to find the dataset they are seeking.

Unlike a URL web address, a DOI reference remains unchanged once established. These unique character strings offer a stable reference, so no matter how frequently an object changes location, it maintains its identification. If the object’s references or content significantly change, we update the DOI record, but the DOI link remains consistent.

However, do not confuse the stability of DOIs with an automatic quality guarantee. This is because not everything with a DOI has undergone peer review, which emphasises the importance of the Registration Agency (RA) from which you acquire your DOI.

Recognition: DOIs simplify the process of citing and publishing data by recognising the value of published data and the effort that went into its creation, including gathering, compiling, capturing, and managing it. Using a DOI in the publication of datasets provides a straightforward way to enhance the visibility of published work, thus granting more credit and recognition to deserving data owners.

METADATAWORKS understands the importance of Digital Object Identifier  (DOI)s in research data and is proud to be a member of DataCite, which provides DOIs for referencing and sharing scientific datasets.

Get in touch to learn how to mint Digital Object Identifier (DOI) using MetadataWorks and make your research outputs more discoverable.

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