May 30, 2014, by Graham Kendall
Document Object Identifier: Explained
But what is this, and why do we need it?
You can think of a DOI as a unique identifier for any paper that you publish. It is like an ISBN for a book.
The benefit of a DOI is that it provides a permalink to any article. So, by knowing the DOI we can get easy access to any publication.
Of course, the scientific literature, by definition, should be accessible but if I give you a reference to a paper, say:
Abuhamdah, A; Ayob, M; Kendall, G and Sabar, N. R Population based Local Search for university course timetabling problems. Applied Intelligence, 40 (1): 44-53, 2014
… to access this paper, you would need to find your way to the journal’s home page, look up the issue/volume and then locate the paper. This process is made even more difficult as not all journals make finding a given paper that easy, or have a consitent layout!
The alternative is to use the DOI. If we know the DOI, we can use the URL http://dx.doi.org/nnnnnn (where nnnnnn is the DOI).
So, to access the above paper we can use http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10489-013-0444-6.
This is not only a lot easier, but also ensures that we can go directly to the paper.
In the context of our MyRA return, we need a DOI for every paper as we need to provide evidence to the MyRA panel that the paper has been published.
The DOI is by far the easiest way to do this. Indeed, I doubt that the MyRA panel would search for every paper by looking through journal’s table of contents.
In fact, without a DOI we would probably not be able to return a paper to MyRA.