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Is anyone aware of a way for an individual developer to access the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system?

I am a software developer working in biological research but independent of any single research institution, and thus it appears the DOI system is frustratingly difficult to access. According to the doi.org website, I need to choose the appropriate Registration Agency which in my case would be DataCite. They in turn point me in the direction of my local affiliated member - being in Australia I have one choice: ANDS. But ANDS only deals with research/non-profit institutions. A request for access to a temporary appID and clientID for testing purposes was met with a polite "no".

All I want to do is to play around with developing some code to mint DOIs in a test environment. This would allow me to hit the ground running should I have the opportunity to work with DOIs in production with a client.

The impression I had is that the DOI concept has much broader applications than just large governmental or research institutions - am I mistaken?

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    I realized -- do you actually need to register the data yourself, or could you hand it off a discipline repository or other organization to manage & serve the data? As it's biological, you might submit it to Dryad (they're moving to a payment on deposit system). There's also FigShare, which is currently free so long as you make the data publicly available. – Joe Jul 3 '13 at 17:24
  • @Joe, that's a reasonable suggestion, although my interest is mostly theoretical at the moment, i.e. from a technical standpoint. I've been frustrated in my attempts at accessing DOIs, especially bearing in mind that the doi.org website states that DOIs can be applied to "any entity — physical, digital or abstract — that you wish to identify, primarily for sharing with an interested user community or managing as intellectual property". In practice, the door is closed to individuals or community groups. – Snubian Jul 3 '13 at 22:06
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I'm not aware of any groups that will let you create test DOIs unless you're somehow affiliated.

However, the California Digital Library is a member of DataCite, and they operate EZID to allow other groups to mint DOIs. They have a pricing schedule for groups to get access. I'd suggest contacting them (see the link on the pricing page).

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EZID (mentioned by @Joe) runs a test service that will allow you to mint identifiers that persist for 2 weeks.

Figshare is free and mints DOIs for all assets. (It isn't clear from your question what kind of testing you want to do, so don't know if this would be applicable or not).

  • Thanks @TomMorris, this is potentially what I'm after. The demo is helpful, although what I am after ideally is to produce DOIs myself programmatically via code rather than through a web interface. Will investigate this and also Figshare, much appreciated. – Snubian Jul 4 '13 at 21:10
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DOIs are only useful to readers when the metadata and content behind them is maintained. Each Registration Agency (RA) has a different set of required metadata. For example, all DOIs require a URL to the location of the content (or some landing page). When the content moves the DOI metadata must be updated to point to the new URL. This continuity of access is something individuals are not so good at, esp. after a decade or more of maintenance. My answer does not address your question directly, but, perhaps, it gives a little insight as to why creating DOIs can seem burdensome.

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