The ZB MED – For all your persistent identifier needs
What are persistent identifiers and what benefits do they offer?
Recent years have seen an explosion in the amount of research being published exclusively online, especially in the subject areas that the ZB MED collects. This development has highlighted the importance of using a method to persistently identify these publications and other content in order to ensure they remain traceable, searchable and citable over the long term.
URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) only describe the location of an object – and anyone familiar with ‘broken links’ will know how easily this can change. In contrast, persistent identifiers link to the object itself, which means that they continue to be valid and to provide a reference to the object even if the URL changes. This applies to all kinds of digital objects (i.e. to electronic documents as well as to all types of research data).
There are different types of persistent identifiers, the most important being DOI, URN, OpenURL and Handle.
Why use DOI? And how is the ZB MED involved?
Compared to other types of persistent identifier, the DOI system is widespread and very well established in the subject areas of medicine, health, nutrition, the environment and agriculture, and it provides widely accepted visible proof that a publication is citable.
By offering its DOI registration service, the ZB MED facilitates and promotes non-profit online publications from the fields of medicine, health, nutrition, the environment and agriculture. It pursues this goal through its membership of the DataCite consortium and in cooperation with the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB), which operates as a DOI registration agency and provides the technical infrastructure.
What type of digital content can DOIs be assigned to?
- Journal articles
- Research reports
- Websites with scientific/academic contents
- Congress publications
- Posters, etc.
- Image data
- Audio data
- Statistical data
- Sequence data
- Interview data, etc.
Please note that DOIs can generally only be assigned to entire collections and their constituent parts – not to individual items from a collection. That means, for example, that journal publishers are welcome to use our services to obtain DOIs for the articles that appear in their journals on a regular basis. If you are an individual author who wishes to obtain a DOI for one or more articles, we would ask you to first discuss this issue with your editor or the publisher of the journal.