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DOI (digital object identifier): What is it?: DOI

What it is

A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency (the International DOI Foundation) to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Web. The publisher assigns a DOI when an article is published and made available electronically. The DOI is unique to an individual work. Not all publishers participate in the DOI initiative; therefore, an article may or may not have a DOI assigned.

All DOI numbers begin with a 10 and contain a prefix and a suffix separated by a slash. The prefix is a unique number of four or more digits assigned to organizations; the suffix is assigned by the publisher and was designed to be flexible with publisher identification standards.

Examples:

10.1159/000330840
10.1289/ehp.1003206

Where to find the DOI

  • Usually located on the first page of an electronic journal article, near the copyright notice or near the author's address.
  • May also be found in the Full Record Display of an article in a database, with the field labeled DOI.
  • Use this format for DOI in your references: doi:xxxxxxxxxxx

Finding DOI Video

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