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Persistent Identifiers at Washington University

University Libraries Services for DOIs, ARKs, and other information about persistent identifiers

What is a DOI?

What is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)?

A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique identifier associated with an object, such as an electronic document. A publisher might assign a journal article a DOI when it is published online; however, DOIs may be assigned to more than just articles. [Other examples of objects which sometimes have DOIs include images, data and data sets, books, and book chapters.] The benefit of a DOI is it is a persistent identifier that is available and managed over time; this means it will not change if the item or object is moved or renamed (From EZID). DOIs alleviate the problem of dead links or link rot.

Washington University in St. Louis can only provide DOIs for faculty, staff, students, and researchers affiliated with the university.

For other DOI providers, visit DataCite -- please note members have different policies on assigning DOIs. 

DOIs are typically issued at the time of an object's publication, much like an ISBN or serial number. All DOIs 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 identifies the object.

example of a DOI

DOIs from Washington University begin with 10.7936

The Libraries has contracted with DataCite to create digital object identifiers (DOIs). The goal in providing DOI assignment to users is to provide a needed service to the University community that enables the sharing of research products through persistent identifiers.

The Libraries currently issue DOIs and ARKs for works published on Libraries platforms and by Libraries units. Researchers may also seek to obtain DOIs and other persistent identifiers for their research works, regardless of the Libraries involvement.

The Libraries will make DOI assignments available for free to users affiliated with Washington University in St. Louis. An external user can be an individual or a department/center. If any one external user requests a notably significant number of DOIs (as in approaching 1000 or more), the Libraries will work with that user to make other, more sustainable arrangements.

What can I get a DOI for?

  • Images
  • Data and data sets
  • Books
  • Book chapters
  • Research reports
  • Dissertations and theses
  • And more

Note: When you create DOIs or have DOIs created, you are also agreeing to maintain URLs if they change. This would require contacting the Libraries with URL updates.