DOI — Update on the Publishers’ Back Office


Ed Pentz, Executive Director, International DOI Foundation

Most readers of this blog will be familiar with library consortia, centralized entities who act as buying collectives for their state or regional member libraries.  Publishers have a consortium, too.  It’s the DOI Foundation, founded and funded in 1998 by a few leading publishers to develop a system for uniquely identifying electronic journal articles and other digital objects produced by the publishers.  Publishers participating in the consortium submit metadata for the abstracts, articles and other electronic content objects they publish, and the DOI assigns each of these unique content assets with a persistent DOI name.  The core DOI Foundation service is known as CrossRef.

The DOI name is the magic formula that lies behind link resolution capabilities.  During my visit with the foundation’s executive director, Ed Pentz, I learned the DOI can now even be used as a Google search term for targeting in on articles of interest.  [Get the Google toolbar.]  Other tools available for information users.

Since the system went live in 2000, 33 million DOI’s have been assigned, said Pentz, 90% relating to journal articles.  Though many, many publishers now use this universal back-office content-management system to tag their assets, there are still new publishers joining the collective, with recent growth coming from Asia.  In addition to being used as tags for articles and article elements, DOI’s can be used for uniquely and persistently identifying many digital items and have even been applied to protein sequences.

New developments?  Ed told me The DOI Foundation is expanding its back office services to publishers in a couple of ways. 

To help publishers assess impact and develop other performance metrics, some 130 publishers are depositing the references included at the end of journal articles.  Once a number of them do this, other publishers will be able to see where their journal articles are being subsequently referenced. 

The Foundation is also working on a CrossCheck feature that will help publishers detect plagiarised manuscripts.  For this activity the foundation is cooperating with iParadigms and Authenticate.  The service, Pentz said, will check both against the published mansucripts submitted by publishers and open web content.  But only 4 million articles have been indexed so far.  Publishers participating include Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley.

Next year, the foundation, will be piloting a service to be called CrossMark, a certification system that will permit publishers to officially "brand" the authorized published version (not be confused with the author’s original manuscript or another pre-press version) with a seal to notify readers, that, yes, indeed, they are looking at the official published version.  Such "sealed" documents will also be linked to corrections and possibly comments that appeared after official publication.

While the DOI Foundation was so successful from the start that it was able to pay back its initial investors after only two years, Pentz closed the interview by noting that, of course, it’s difficult to promise perpetual persistence. He said the Foundation was evaluating ways to assure that the promise of persistence can be met for generations to come.

Dick Kaser

ITI VP, Content

One Response to “DOI — Update on the Publishers’ Back Office”

  1. Ed Pentz December 9, 2008 at 4:10 am #

    Hi – I just wanted to correct a misattribution in this post. I’m the Executive Director of CrossRef which a separate, independent organization from the International DOI Foundation (IDF). CrossRef is a Registration Agency of the IDF along with a range of other organizations assigning DOIs. CrossRef focuses on services for the scholarly publishing community. Ed Pentz