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DOE Research Data and Digital Object Identifiers: A Perfect Match

by Sara Studwell on Wed, April 22, 2015

Alternate Text PlaceholderThe Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) became a member of and a registering agency for DataCite in 2011—making the Department of Energy the first U.S. federal agency to assign digital object identifiers (DOIs) to data through OSTI’s Data ID Service.  DataCite is an international organization that supports data visibility, ease of data citation in scholarly publications, data preservation and future re-use, and data access and retrievability.   

Through the OSTI Data ID Service, DOIs are assigned to research datasets and then registered with DataCite to establish persistence and aid in citation, discovery, and retrieval.  The assignment and registration of a DOI is a free service for DOE researchers to enhance the management of this increasingly important resource.  Citations to these datasets are then made broadly available in OSTI databases such as DOE Data Explorer and SciTech Connect and in resources such as and  They are also indexed by commercial search engines like Google and Bing.  

So why would a dataset need a DOI?  This is a question that many people ask as data citation has become more important to the research process.  And the answer is quite simple:  to improve the discoverability of and attribution for datasets created and used in the course of research.  A DOI gives the dataset a unique and persistent identifier that can point to the exact crucial component of a large research dataset.  For example, a researcher writes an article that is published in a major journal.  This is only a small snapshot of the immense amount of research that goes into a short scholarly publication.  Assigning DOIs to the specific sets of data buried in that collection can allow a future scientist to extract just the set he needs to prove or disprove one important step in an experiment.  Datasets cited in an article can also help funding organizations track the impact their data budget is having…and the chances that a future reader of the article will still be able to link to the cited dataset are much higher when the linkage works through a DOI.

OSTI’s Data ID Service is a useful resource for increasing access to digital data, as the DOE Public Access Plan noted:  “The Department’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information can provide digital object identifiers to data sets resulting from DOE-funded research.  To improve the discoverability of and attribution for datasets created and used in the course of the research, DOE encourages the citation and identification of datasets with persistent identifiers such as DOIs.”

Want to start making your data more discoverable by registering it for a DOI?  If you create, own, or host DOE-funded data that you’d like to see in the DOE Data Explorer, contact us at

Sara Studwell is a Librarian and Product Manager for DOE’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Related OSTI Products: DOE Data Explorer
Page last updated on 2017-09-08 12:41

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Sara Studwell

Librarian and Product Manager, overseeing OSTI’s DOE PAGES, DOE Data Explorer, and DOepatents