Can you find an article in 5 sec? The world of DOIs

The Digital Object Identifier SystemImagine this: you have a reference to an article you have decided to read. How can you access it within the next 5 seconds? Welcome to the world of DOIs! DOI is short from Digital Object Identifier and if you ask me, it’s a brilliant invention.

So how does this work? Let’s say you want to read the first report by Stanley Milgram on his (in)famous experiment. You know the reference: Milgram, Stanley (1963). “Behavioral Study of Obedience”. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(4), 371–378. doi:10.1037/h0040525.

Forget copy-pasting the title/author into psycINFO or ISI Web of Science and then scrolling around to find the right article! Simply go to paste the DOI number and voila! you’re there!

DOI has a number of good features:

  1. As you’ve just experienced, using DOIs is fast. Often, online journals present the doi numbers in a form of a link (see the reference above). It then only takes a click to get to the article.
  2. DOI never changes. The content in interenet is everchanging. Journals born and die, move from one site to another, change their names.You will always be able to use DOI number and find the piece in 5 seconds (well depending on the speed of your connection) no matter where the article has been moved to.
  3. Apps to resolve DOI. Do you use Firefox? If so, then the CNRI Handle Extension will make your life easier. It automatically displays all DOI codes as links. This means you’ll be reading the article you want in just a second.
  4. APA Style requires DOIs. What’s so good about it? All articles published after the APA Style 6th version took effect, will have DOI numbers in the references. This will speed up your literature research considerably!

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About the author

Maris Vainre