DOI (Digital Object identifier)

Digital object identifiers (DOI) are used to ensure that research outputs such as publications, data, reports and videos can easily be accessed in the long term. The IIASA Library has signed an agreement with TIB Hannover (German National Library of Science and Technology) as a Registration Agency for Digital Object Identifiers for research data, research reports and non-textual material such as models, grey literature and datasets.

Applying for a DOI

A Digital Object Identifier provides a permanent way to reference any digital object, from research articles to research data. IIASA library, through DataCite, can now assign DOI’s for your research output, including research data, research reports, models and datasets. We will create a metadata file for your output which will persistently identify the item throughout its lifetime. The better the metadata, the more visible your item is online. To expedite the process of assigning a DOI to your research please see the guidelines below for the information we require to make your item as interoperable and as visible as possible.

Why register for a DOI?

Registering research output for a DOI has several benefits. It makes referencing digital objects simpler and as easy to cite as texts, improves the ability to link research data with published research articles, improves access to scientific data and fosters scientific cooperation and reproducibility of results. Applying a DOI to research data also complies with the Horizon 2020 Guidelines on ensuring that research data is discoverable and identifiable.

Applying for a DOI for research data

To apply for a DOI for a research data set there a few issues to bear in mind. A DOI is meant as a permanent identifier for the data set. This means that the dataset cannot be altered. As research data constantly evolves we can apply versioning for the data. If your data is subject to intermittent or regular updates we can deprecate the older version and link to the updated data set. When this occurs we will issue a new DOI and explicitly identify it as the newest and recommended version.

To apply for a DOI we ask that you provide an up to date version of the data that we can deposit in a repository. Where possible the data should be available in as open a format as possible, for example .csv, .svg, jpeg 2000, plaintext, office open etc. If you are unsure what file type to use please contact us for assistance. For long-term usability and access an open format is preferential, as it mitigates against certain amounts of obsolescence and access issues. In all instances please provide details of the software environment the data was originally created in and, if possible, details of open source software that can access the data. We will then create a record for this data in our repository. This will facilitate versioning the data in case of future updates and creating explicit connections between these versions.

The benefits of doing so are two-fold. Firstly it ensures that there is a record of all major revisions throughout the research process, as well as a backup of previous versions if required. Secondly, and more importantly, it allows you to identify which version of a dataset is being referenced. If issues were identified in a previous version of the data that were rectified in an update you can readily tell if someone is using an out of date dataset.

There are several things that we need to issue a DOI for research data. Remember, the more information the better quality metadata we can provide for your data.

  • A copy of the data
  • Are there any access conditions we should be aware of?
  • Creators-a full list of all authors of the data. We can also include their affiliation information and if they have an ORCID id it will improve the semantic connections for your data set
  • Title
  • Publisher
  • Publication year
  • Resource type-this must be one of the following: Audiovisual, Collection, Dataset, Event, Image, Interactive Resource, Model, Physical Object, Service, Software, Sound, Text, Workflow, Other
  • Rights-CC licence etc.

The following are optional, but it is strongly recommended to provide some information for them.

  • Subject
  • Contributors-Contact person, editor, related person, sponsor, holding institution, data collector etc.
  • Date
  • Related items-for example reports, reviews, articles derived from the research, articles citing the research, previous versions, derived from etc. This helps provide semantic links between your research and related material, which improves search engine results.
  • Description-abstract, methods, technical information
  • Location-spatial location about where the data was gathered or about which the research is focused
  • Funding information-funder name, award number, award title etc.


These are just a selection of some of the metadata fields available under the DataCite schema. If there is information that you wish to include that is not covered by these fields feel free to contact us.  Once we have completed the metadata and registered the item with DataCite will we provide you with your DOI. If, for any reason, changes need to be made to the metadata this can be accommodated and the metadata updated within 24 hours.

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Last edited: 15 September 2016


Luke Kirwan

Open Access Manager


T +43(0) 2236 807 278

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313