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What is a DOI? Strengths, Limitations & Components

DOI is short for Digital Object Identifier. It is a unique alphanumeric sequence assigned to digital objects, it is used to identify intellectual property on the internet. DOI’s are usually assigned to scholarly articles, datasets, books, videos and even pieces of software. 

Understanding DOI’s

The digital object identifier is a unique number made up of a prefix and suffix, segregated by a forward slash. 

For example: 10.1000/182

The sequence always begins with a 10. The prefix is a unique 4 or more digit number assigned to establishments and the suffix is assigned by publisher as it is designed to be flexible with publisher identification standards.

Where can I find a DOI?

In most scholarly articles, the DOI should be on the cover page. If the DOI isn’t included in the article, you may search for it on by using the “Search Metadata” function.

How can I use the digital object identifier to find the article it refers to?

  • If the DOI starts with http:// or https://, pasting it on your web browder will help you locate the article.
  • You can turn any DOI starting with 10 into a URL by adding before the DOI. For example, 10.3352/jeehp.2013.10.3 becomes
  • If you’re off campus when you do this, you’ll need to use this URL prefix in front of the DOI to gain access to UIC’s full text journal subscriptions: . For example:

Strengths of Digital Object Identifier

  • Permanent identification: Digital object identifier provides a permanent link to digital content, making sure it remains accessible even if URL or metadata is updated. 
  • Citations: It uniquely identifies research papers, which facilitates accurate referencing and citing.
  • Interoperability: DOIs are widely recognized as they can be utilised across different platforms, databases and systems.
  • Tracking and metrics: DOIs provide key information like publication date, authors, keywords and more. This can be used to track usage metrics, measuring impact and improving discoverability
  • Integration with services: DOIs are integrated with various tools like reference managers, academic search engines, and digital libraries. These mediums enhance the visibility and accessibility of research material with DOIs. 

Limitations of Digital Object Identifier 

  • Cost: Digital object identifiers are costly for smaller organisations or individual researchers. While some services offer free digital object identifier registration for certain content, there may be fees associated with others, particularly for maintenance and updates.
  • Accessibility: There may still be barriers to access for individual researchers or organisations in regions with limited resources. Ensuring equitable access to digital object identifier services and content remains a challenge.
  • Content Preservation: While the sequence provide persistent links to digital content, they do not guarantee the preservation or long-term accessibility of that content. Ensuring the preservation of digital objects linked to DOIs require additional efforts and infrastructure beyond the system itself.
  • Granularity: Sequences are assigned to individual digital objects, such as articles, datasets, or books. However, there may be cases where more granular identification is required, such as specific sections within a larger work or versions of a dataset. Addressing these granularity issues within the digital object identifier system can be complex.

Conduct your research on Zendy today

Now that you’ve gained a better understanding of how DOI works and impacts the world of research, you may begin your search and find your next academic discovery on Zendy! Our advanced search allows you to input DOI, ISSN, ISBN, publication, author, date, keyword and title. Give it a go on Zendy now.