The DOI System: A Step into the Future of Digital Publishing

Imagine being in a library where you have to examine every book in the shelves to locate your choice book for lack of a bibliographic system. Such an adventure could be really frustrating. There should always be an easy way of locating a specific material from a large collection—in a physical location or over the internet.

The internet is in a constant state of change, with new content being added to the web by the minute and old content sometimes getting moved around. While the benefit of publishing scholarly outputs online is that it is possible for them to be widely shared across different channels and updated as needed, the potential for online content to be moved, modified, or hosted in multiple places can also make keeping track of different versions really complicated at times. That is where DOIs come into play.

About the DOI system

DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier, which refers to a “digital identifier of an object” rather than an “identifier of a digital object”. A DOI is a unique string of numbers and letters (including symbols) that identifies a scholarly content of any type exclusively and provides a persistent link to on the internet. By “persistent”, we mean it is designed to be consistent and unchanging.

This is what differentiates it from the regular URL, which could be deleted, changed, or suffer link rot in which, after a period of time, it ceases to point to the originally targeted file. This inconsistency could lead to a citation problem. On the other hand, a DOI helps your reader to easily locate a document from your citation, in different locations. A DOI is a specially upgraded type of URL.

The DOI system was created by the International DOI Foundation (IDF) and was adopted as International Standard ISO 26324 in 2012. The IDF is the ISO 26324 Registration Authority. Compliance with the DOI Handbook ensures compliance with the ISO 26324 standard.

The benefits of DOI to authors

DOI is globally recognized; hence, it adds value to any published work through wide readership, high visibility and increased citation. For newer articles that are still gaining a readership and developing their reputation, adding DOIs to articles can help raise awareness of the publication. Readers are more likely to find and cite articles with DOIs. Interestingly, authors can also add DOI in their resume/CV with the particular publication details. Obtaining a DOI is a crucial part of the paper publication; it gives it a unique identity in the digital world.

So what are we (AB Journals) saying in essence?

Our DOI are gotten from Crossref which also integrates with ORCiD (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), a not-for-profit effort to generate a registry of persistent researcher identifiers. ORCiD is a free and unique digital identifier that distinguishes an author from every other researcher, no matter how common their name is. Hence, there is no risk of losing the credit for their work to someone else.

We encourage authors to include their ORCiD in their articles, so those articles can be automatically added to the author’s ORCiD records (with the author’s permission). In this way, journals can offer authors added value by helping them keep their ORCiD records up-to-date and increase the visibility of their published works.

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