USGS Data Management
The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) System is a scheme for locating digital data objects on the Internet. A DOI is a globally unique string of numbers and letters that is assigned to one digital object. DOIs are intended to be persistent and exist for the long term. While information about the digital object may be modified over time, the DOI locator always remains the same.
How are DOIs Useful?
DOIs are technically persistent locators because they provide information about where the digital object can be located but they can also serve as persistent identifiers as well. DOIs have typically been assigned to published scholarly articles as a means of citation.
However a growing number of DOIs have been assigned to datasets as digital objects for citation. The use of DOIs can largely increase the ability to track and cite entire datasets which may enable greater access, discovery, and potential reuse.
DOIs can be obtained through registration agencies such as USGS, DataCite, CrossRef, and UC3EZID.