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What is a DOI, and how do I find one?

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A Digital Object Identifier, or DOIs, give each article, book, or book chapter a unique, persistent identifying alphanumeric code. It’s not mandatory that publishers register DOIs for all their publications, but scholarly publishers and some governmental agencies have assigned DOIs to the works they publish. (Because publishers or content owners have to pay to register items, many scholarly articles still lack DOIs, and popular publications, such as magazines or news articles, do not have DOIs). APA citation style requires that the DOI be included in reference list entries.

Crossref,  a registration agency for the International DOI Foundation, assigns DOIs to scholarly research publications.

All DOIs start with the number 10 followed by a period.

 **DOIs have nothing to do with the peer-reviewed status of an article.

**CINAHL and Proquest give DOIs in their article results, but they have code appended to them which identifies our college, which seems helpful on their end, but makes the DOI incorrect. Don’t use the DOI given in a library database record—get it from the actual article or CrossRef. Read more below!

The first place to look for a DOI is the article itself. Many publishers will include the DOI somewhere on the first page of the article, ether at the top of the page or in the footer, or in any citation or copyright information. 

The second place to look for a DOI is by searching the Crossref website. If your search for a DOI on their site comes up empty, it’s likely that the publication doesn't have one. 

Go to the Crossref.org website.

Click on the Search Metadata tab above the search box.

Enter the title of the article, in quotes, in the Title, Author, DOI, etc search box.

Look through the list of results for your article. The DOI will be listed at the bottom of the entry. In this example, it’s

 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-018-1616-9 

Searches in Crossref always bring back results, even if the article you are looking for isn't there. If you don't see your article in the first page of results, here are a few things to try.

  • Add the author's last name to your search.
  • Use the Year limiter in the left column to limit results to the year in which your item was published.

 If you still don't find the article you are looking for in Crossref, you’ve done your due diligence, and it doesn’t have a DOI.

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