The Crossref Curriculum

Constructing your DOIs

Prior knowledge: The structure of a DOI. This advice applies to DOIs at all levels - learn more about DOIs at different levels.

When you join as a Crossref member, we assign you a DOI prefix, and you decide your own suffix pattern. When you register content with Crossref, you also create a DOI for that content, based on the suffix pattern you have chosen. If you’re using the Crossref XML plugin for OJS, you don’t need to create your suffixes as the plugin will generate them for you automatically.

You don’t need to include any specific or descriptive information in the DOI - that information is included in the metadata submitted when you register your content. If you do choose to include bibliographic information in a DOI string it will have no meaning within the Crossref or DOI system. Existing identifiers can also be used for the DOI suffix such as an ISBN, PII (personally identifying information), or existing internal numbering scheme.

From the prefix, you can tell which member originally deposited metadata for a given DOI. However, as content can move between members, the owner of a DOI is not necessarily the same as the owner of the prefix. Learn more about transferring responsibility for DOIs.

Tips for creating a DOI suffix

  • Be concise: Make the suffix short and easy to read. Remember, DOIs will appear online and in print; users will also re-type DOIs.
  • Be unique: A suffix must be unique within your prefix.
  • Be case insensitive: A suffix is case insensitive, so 10.1006/abc is the same as 10.1006/ABC.
  • Be consistent: The suffix should reflect a consistent, logical system that can be easily recorded and understood by employees of your organization. For example, you might want the suffix to include existing internal identifiers.
  • Avoid page numbers: choosing a pattern that is linked to page numbers makes it difficult to put content online before pagination is complete for a print version, or if the items are published online only.
  • Only use approved characters: Your DOI suffix can be any alphanumeric string, using the approved characters “a-z”, “A-Z”, “0-9” and “-._;()/” You might see some older (pre-2008) DOIs which contain other characters.
  • Make suffixes extensible: DOI suffixes should be extensible, to allow DOIs to be assigned to parts of a content item, such as figures, graphs, and supplementary materials. In an example article with DOI 10.1006/jmbi.1998.2354, the second figure in the article might be assigned this DOI: 10.1006/jmbi.1998.2354.f002

Example DOI suffix patterns

Crossref member Example DOI
American Astronomical Society 10.1086/323445
American Institute of Physics 10.1063/1.125173
American Chemical Society 10.1021/cm960127g
CSHL Press 10.1101/gr.10.12.1841
IEEE 10.1109/16.8842
Oxford University Press 10.1162/003355397555109
UChicago Press 10.1086/301055

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Last Updated: 2020 April 8 by Laura J. Wilkinson