Identifiers are a key component in scholarly communications. They allow you to cite other people’s work, be cited and document the impact of your work. Their full name is persistent identifiers (PIDs), as they ensure that an object is discoverable even if the original web address goes offline or changes location.
With the growing importance of the impact agenda, identifiers support the evaluation of researchers’ work. You can use them to provide evidence in impact tracking platforms, such as ResearchFish, KOLOLA, or Impact Tracker.
Digital Object Identifiers
In the case of research data, the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) is widespread. The International DOI Foundation manages the DOI system and provides detailed documentation on it. Many applications of the DOI system exist, including:
- Crossref , which is used to manage citations in scholarly publications
- DataCite , which helps you locate, identify and cite research data.
The main aim of DOIs is to encourage sharing and citation. They also enable transparency and reproducibility : if a link breaks, the data is lost and research cannot be verified. As of early 2018, over 148 million DOI names have been assigned to date and over 5 billion DOI resolutions are performed every year.
In some cases, you cannot openly share your data , but you can still create a DOI. Think, for example, of cases where a researcher has to apply for ethical approval before using the data. Also, you are probably familiar with academic articles: nowadays, they all have a DOI but this doesn’t mean they are freely available.
To learn how to use DOIs in research, see the Linking your data to a publication page .
Permalinks are another form of persistent identifiers. They are URLs meant to remain unchanged and are often used in blogging platforms. In research, permalinks are important when you wish to cite a webpage, which may move or go offline at any point. To address this, you may wish to create a permanent record of the pages you cite using services such as perma.cc . This service allows readers to reach a copy of the page looking exactly as it did when a researcher cited it.
Other identifiers in research
In the field of research more generally, there are other identifiers, too. Think, for example, of ORCID . This is a persistent digital identifier defining you as a researcher and including all sorts of information on your work. Through ORCID, you can link your publications, datasets, grants and more, showcasing your experience.