DOI: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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FAQs List

What is a DOI and how does it work?

  • A digital object identifier or DOI is a type of unique identifiers designed to be immutable. Through the DOI Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), DOIs provide direct persistent links to resources, such as data sets, software, models, etc.


What do I need to do in order to register my resource for a DOI?

  • Before starting a resource’s DOI registration process, a description document (metadata) and a landing page need to be created for the resource. The description for the resource should follow the DataCite metadata schema, and the landing page is a web page about the resource that the DOI can point. The following diagram demonstrates the relationships among DOI, its metadata, its land page, and its citation. For more details about how to prepare the resource's metadata and the content for the landing page, please see “Step 1: Prepare metadata for the resource(s)” and “Step 2: Create landing page(s) for the resource(s)” of the “Getting a DOI at NCAR” page.


What are my responsibilities with DOIs?

  • DOIs cannot be deleted, and therefore, DOIs are statements of commitment for ensuring the resources are maintained for the long term. This includes providing relevant information when the resources are no longer available or are superseded. Additionally, when working with other research organizations, units, and individuals, it is important to discuss and confirm the commitment to the DOIs before registering the resources for DOIs.


What are the types of UCAR/NCAR resources that can be assigned DOIs?

  • DOIs can be assigned to a range of resources. The most relevant resource types to UCAR/NCAR usage are data sets, software, models, services, and publications. However, the following resource types could also be considered: audio/video files, images, physical objects, workflows, facilities, and interactive resources.


What are the benefits of DOIs?

  • DOIs are widely accepted by the publishing community and becoming a “best practice” for uniquely and persistently identifying resources. Since DOIs cannot be deleted, the persistence of DOIs enables permanent URL-to-resource connections while allowing the flexibility of providing updates to the resources' locations and ancillary metadata, if needed.


Why use DOIs for UCAR/NCAR resources?

  • Digital resources, including data sets, software, and services, are important products of NCAR/UCAR research and technology development activities, and these resources are used widely within and outside the institution.The goals of assigning DOIs are to:
  1. Promote transparency and reproducibility in research by offering persistent pathways to the resources
  2. Facilitate more robust connections between NCAR/UCAR managed resources and their downstream products (such as published papers)
  3. Use DOIs as part of formal citations to these resources. (See the American Meteorological Society's Data Archiving and Citation recommendation,
  4. Fulfill agency requirements of “Open Access” to data and publications derived using Federal funding.
    • Ultimately, the understanding of the value and the scientific impact of data sets, software packages, and other scientific services/facilities could be improved by tracking the uses of these resources through the assigned DOIs.


When should I register my resource for a DOI?

  • When assigning DOIs to resources being made available for the first time, DOIs should be assigned when the resources are posted to a public web site. When assigning DOIs to existing, publicly available resources, the timeline of DOI assignment will vary with the resources. If you have any questions or need further information regarding when to register a resource for a DOI, please contact:


What is the granularity that I should use for registering my resources that have multiple components or versions, such as data sets and models?

  • Each resource should be viewed on a case-by-case basis. However, the decision should be based primarily on the ways that the resources are used. In any case, the relationship between the DOI and the resource granularity should be documented and kept consistent. Some questions that can provide guidance on making granularity decisions include:

    • How do you manage resources internally?
    • How do you typically display resources to users?
    • What resources do users have access to?
    • Will the granularity support a reasonably accurate starting point for subsequent research? Similarly, what is the granularity that is reasonably sufficient for accessing the resource and carrying out validations of the resource?
    • What do you want users to cite?
    • What do you want to get citation metrics on?


Which new version of a software should receive a new DOI?

  • Although DOIs may be assigned to resources that are released in different versions or that change over time, it is important to consider if the versions or the changes are significant enough to impact the understanding and uses of the software. It is crucial to document and track the versions of the software and their corresponding DOIs, so that citations to the correct version could be made.
  • Please note that additional topics, including archiving, documentation (metadata), and provenance relating to assigning DOIs to software, are being developed. If you have any questions or need further information regarding these topics, please contact:


How could I help my users in citing my resources using DOIs?

  • To help users to find and use citations and DOIs, citation information and recommended citation syntax should be displayed on the resource’s web page that is associated with the DOI. While there are several citation syntaxes available, the general suggested elements are as follows:

    • Required elements for basic information: Author. Release date. Title. Archive/Resource Provider. Identifier. Resource Access Date (date that the user accesses the resource).
    • Optional elements for enhanced clarity: Version; Subset Used; Editor/Compiler/Other Important Dependencies; Distributor/Associate Archive/Other Major Institutional Roles.


Who can help me with DOIs at UCAR/NCAR?

  • Since 2012, the NCAR Library has worked with a number of NCAR/UCAR groups to assign DOIs to community resources that they manage. For questions or more information, please contact: