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    Factsheet

    Key Facts on Digital Object Identifier System

     

    Key concepts and abbreviations

    • DOI = Digital Object Identifier
    • IDF = International DOI Foundation (operating and governing organisation): http://www.bangxi.tw/
    • RAs = DOI Registration Agencies (= members of IDF offering the system to customers who wish to assign DOI names)
     

    Status: operational system

    • Foundation launched to develop system in 1998. First applications launched 2000
    • Currently used by well over 5,000 assigners, e.g., publishers, science data centres, movie studios, etc.
    • Approximately 230 million DOI names assigned to date
    • Over 146,000 DOI name prefixes within the DOI System
    • Over 5 billion DOI resolutions per year
    • DOI names are assigned by multiple RAs worldwide
    • Over 28 million shortDOI links to DOI names are in use
    • Initial applications are simple redirection — a persistent identifier
    • More sophisticated functionality available, e.g., multiple resolution, data typing
    • International Standard: ISO 26324, Digital Object Identifier System, 1 May 2012 (available from the ISO Store)
     

    Scope

    • Digital Identifier of an Object (not "Identifier of a Digital Object")
    • Object = any entity (thing: physical, digital, or abstract)
      • Resources, parties, licences, etc.
    • Digital Identifier = network actionable identifier ("click on it and do something")
    • Generic framework
    • Initial focus on entities was documents/media e.g., articles, data sets
      • Now also moving into parties and licences
      • Extending to other sectors
    • Extensible by design to any sector: not intended as a publishing-only solution (digital convergence)
    • International coverage
     

    What it does

    • Provides an actionable, interoperable, persistent link
    • Actionable – through use of identifier syntax and network resolution mechanism (Handle System®)
    • Persistent – through combination of supporting improved handle infrastructure (registry database, proxy support, etc) and social infrastructure (obligations by Registration Agencies)
    • Interoperable – through use of a data model providing semantic interoperability and grouping mechanisms
     

    Governance

    • IDF = operating and governing organisation
    • Provides the social infrastructure
      • e.g., obligations for persistence, back-up, in event of failure, etc.
    • Proven model: successfully transitioned the management of persistent identifiers between different registrants and between different RAs
    • US "Not for profit" open membership (with membership fee)
    • Federation of Registration Agencies makes up majority of the IDF
    • Elected Board
    • No full time staff (contracted outsourced functions)
     

    Business Model

    • IDF receives membership fees from RAs, contracts technical operator
    • RAs are members of IDF and pay a fixed fee per year
    • Costs of operating the system are divided across RAs so that IDF is cost-neutral
    • Assigners are customers of RAs
    • RAs might have their own existing numbering scheme, existing communities etc. – which can be integrated with a DOI Application not replaced by it.
    • RAs are autonomous independent bodies. They offer services to assigners using DOI names
      • RAs' business model with their customers is entirely autonomous
      • RAs only obligation to IDF is a licence/operating agreement
      • RAs may choose to put DOI names "under the hood"
    • Some RAs are commercial; others are themselves member communities
     

    Technical Infrastructure

    • Handle System: persistent identification in digital networks
    • Vocabulary Mapping Framework: data dictionary methodology for associated metadata
    • Both used elsewhere: aim was not to re-invent the wheel
     

    Standardization

    • ISO 26324, Information and Documentation — Digital Object Identifier System (2012)
    • Mechanism for, and emphasis on, enabling re-use of other existing identifier schemes, e.g., ISBN; see "DOI System and Standard Identifier Schemes".
     

    Documentation

     

    Origin

    • 1996 proposal from the three major international publishing trade associations to develop infrastructure for digital publishing;
    • Need in the digital supply chain for an equivalent of the analogue bar code: migration from analogue to digital networked content cannot rely on URLs as identifiers (e.g., due to "linkrot": "404 not found")
     

    Relation to other schemes

    • Strong focus on interoperability and on working with existing and new schemes; technical, syntactic, and semantic interoperability
    • Adopt existing proven components
     

    Intellectual Property Considerations

    • IDF owns DOI®, a registered trademark for the system
    • IDF does not have any patents (or patent applications) on DOI System
    • IDF collectively licences appropriate technology from suppliers on behalf of members
    • Patent Policy in place
    • All RAs must sign RA agreement re use of IDF System
    • IDF is a participant in related projects
     
    DOI_disc_logo ®, DOI®, DOI.ORG®, and shortDOI® are trademarks of the International DOI Foundation.
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