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Getting Started with DOIs

DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier. They’re used as a way to link persistently to an article so that – provided they are kept up to date – any link or reference to a DOI should take a user to where the article currently resides online. They’re useful for things like citation metrics, but also as a way to prevent or combat dead links. From Crossref:

[A DOI is] a unique alphanumeric string assigned to a digital object – in this case, an electronic journal article or a book chapter. In the Crossref system, each DOI is associated with a set of basic metadata and a URL pointer to the full text, so that it uniquely identifies the content item and provides a persistent link to its location on the internet.

For more information on the DOI itself, which is a NISO standard syntax, please visit the International DOI Foundation website at For details on use of the DOI within Crossref, please see the “How Crossref Works” page.

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The key to this statement is that a DOI is unique. Any article should only have one unique combination of a DOI prefix and suffix. Articles should also, ideally, only have one DOI each.