USGS Data Management
Persistent Identifiers are globally unique numeric and/or character strings that reference a digital object. Persistent identifiers can be actionable in that they enable a user to access the digital resource via a persistent link. They are intended to function for the long term. While there are several standard persistent identifier systems, the most relevant to USGS are Digital Object Identifiers (DOI).
What are DOIs and how are they useful?
A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is one type of unique, persistent identifier that is permanently assigned to a specific electronic resource. It is sometimes likened to a Social Security Number (SSN) for a person. Just as a person may be assigned a unique number that identifies him or her to various parties – employers, creditors, the Internal Revenue Service – and remains the same no matter where he or she moves, so an electronic object receives a unique sequence of alphanumeric characters that remain tied to that object, no matter how many times the object moves to different servers or property rights owners. A DOI can link an end user to the unique digital object. A DOI supports scientific integrity in that it provides access to the data, workflow, or software version used in a research project from which results can be reproduced.
A DOI is permanently attached to a digital object, and is managed apart from the object’s physical location. The DOI itself doesn’t change. This provides enormous advantage, because a properly managed DOI will always point to the current online location of that object, and can therefore be used reliably in all references and citations. The reliability of DOIs provides a strong advantage over a cited URL, which does little good for end users if the desired object is no longer available from that electronic location.
A DOI identifies a specific online resource, such as the final version of a dataset or publication that was approved for release, a dataset that was improved and annotated to meet a requirement, or the version of a numerical model that was used in a scientific publication.
Two official DOI registration organizations used by the USGS and sanctioned by the Digital Object Identifier Consortium (http://www.doi.org) are CrossRef and DataCite. For CrossRef.org, DOIs are obtained by the Science Publishing Network (SPN) for USGS series publications in a similar fashion to journals obtaining crossref.org DOIs for journal publications. For DataCite.org, DOIs are for citing data and are obtained in the USGS by the science centers using the USGS Digital Object Identifier Creation Tool. A DOI name takes the form of a character string divided into two parts, a prefix and a suffix, separated by a slash. The Crossref.org prefix for USGS scholarly series publications is 10.3133. The DataCite.org prefix for USGS data is 10.5066. Hence when a DOI has a 10.3133 it is a USGS scholarly series publication that is referenced and when a DOI has a 10.5066 it is USGS data that is referenced.
Here’s what a DOI looks like:
Here’s how it becomes an actionable link:
Example citations with DOIs for data that are acceptable under USGS policy:
Moody, J.A., and Meade, R.H., 2013, Powder River: Data for cross-channel profiles at 22 sites in southeastern Montana from 1975 through 2013: U.S. Geological Survey dataset, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F70Z719C
Diffendorfer, J.E., Compton, Roger, Kramer, Louisa, Ancona, Zach, and Norton, Donna, 2014, Onshore industrial wind turbine locations for the United States through July 2013: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 817, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds817.
What the U.S. Geological Survey Manual Says:
The USGS Instructional Memoradum IM OSQI 2015-03 - Fundamental Science Practices: Review and Approval of Scientific Data for Release requires persistent identifiers:
Data approved for release must be assigned a persistent identifier, specifically a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) from the USGS registration agent, and be accompanied by a recommended citation.
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