Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

The DOI system was established in 1998 by the International DOI Foundation (IDF), which manages the system and, together with its members, the DOI registration agencies, such as DataCite, monitors quality and use in accordance with ISO 26324 and international best practice guidelines.

DOIs are digital persistent identifiers (PIDs) used to uniquely identify a scientific object (which may be physical or digital) in a digital world. They are persistent and unique and provide access to the object. This is achieved through the metadata, including the landing page URL, submitted at registration.

DOIs provide long-term access, even if an object moves, because the DOI-registering institution commits to updating the landing page URL associated with the DOI.

The DOI consists of a prefix and a suffix separated by a slash. For example: 10.5438/1dgk-1m22.

The prefix is a random sequence of numbers without any semantic meaning. Each DataCite prefix begins with "10." and thus identifies the DOI system. It reserves a namespace in the DOI handle system. Each DOI-registering repository will have a prefix assigned to it.

The suffix can either be generated automatically in the DOI system or assigned manually by the user.

A DOI name (for example, 10.5438/1dgk-1m22) is converted to a link via the IDF resolver, For example, for DOI 10.5438/1dgk-1m22, the link is

Within the best practice framework, both the DOI and the metadata are provided in human- and machine-readable form on the landing page of the scientific object.


DataCite DOIs can be assigned to textual and non-textual research objects such as research data, videos, images or 3D models, gray literature and articles in open access journals. An overview of the resource types that can be entered for a DOI can be found here: Resource Type General.


Added value of DOI registration

DOI registration

  • makes research output unambiguously referenceable and more easily accessible,
  • facilitates citation as well as the linking of research data to a publication,
  • is an international standard in scholarly communication for the publication of scientific articles,
  • improves access to research data and thus avoids duplicates,
  • increases the visibility of research data, motivates new research and promotes scientific collaboration,
  • makes digital objects such as scientific films and film segments as easily citable as texts.



The DOI system was established in 1998 and the DOI has since evolved to an international standard identifier for scientific publications. The most relevant registration agencies are Crossref for the publishing community and DataCite for the research community. DataCite is a global non-profit membership organization that provides DOIs for research data and other research outputs.

Facilitated by TIB, the registered association DataCite (International Data Citation Initiative e.V.) was founded in London in December 2009 by seven members from six countries. DataCite was founded to help researchers securely identify, locate, access and cite research datasets. DataCite provides the ability to link, for example, a published journal article to the underlying research data through the persistent identification of objects. In addition, DataCite offers:

  • Sharing of datasets among researchers and the possibility of obtaining funding through this.
  • Simplify access to research data.
  • Development of new services.
  • Access to data that is not linked to a specific publication.
  • Increase acceptance of research data as legitimate, citable contributions.
  • Supporting data archiving so that results can be verified and used for future studies.

The DataCite office is based at the TIB. Since its foundation, other leading science organizations in the field of Open Science from all over the world have joined the association. Today, DataCite is the most important partner worldwide for DOI allocation for research data.

DataCite is a member of the International DOI Foundation (IDF) and one of nine DOI registration agencies worldwide. As a non-profit organization, it supports science and research by building global infrastructures for access to research data. Services for accessing, citing and finding research data are constantly being developed and expanded. DataCite is also actively involved in the development of technical standards and workflows for a global research data infrastructure.

Using a standardized REST API or OAI-PMH, the metadata provided with a CC0 license can be searched and retrieved (harvested). Likewise, the citations including metadata provided by the Event Data Service can also be queried and retrieved. DataCite metadata is collected and indexed by organizations such as openAIRE, the BASE search engine, Clarivate's Data Citation Index and Google Dataset Search.