Obtaining a Data DOI

NERC Environmental Data Centres use Digital Object Identifiers or DOIs as a means of obtaining academic credit for the effort put into creating, managing and curating a dataset. Using this form of citation allows the use of existing methods and systems for measuring the impact and re-use of data and gives formal recognition to the individuals responsible. To encourage the adoption of data as a first class research object, NERC explicitly states in its data policy that it will facilitate the “formal publication of datasets, as well as enabling the tracking of their usage through citation and data licences.” DOIs for polar data are assigned by the UK Polar Data Centre (UK PDC).

Dataset prerequisites

It is not possible to define a single set of criteria as these will include discipline and instrumentation specific parameters. It is strongly recommended that data producers liaise with the UK PDC. In most cases once the dataset has been accepted by the UK PDC, it meets the minimum technical quality for assigning a DOI. The points below highlight general criteria applicable to all datasets.

  • The DOI request must come from the author of the dataset. In cases where authorship has not been established at data ingestion, the responsible party (identified in the Data Management Plan) should authorise the request.
  • The dataset must be stable and complete:
    • For long-term datasets, it is common practice to divide the dataset into appropriate temporal/categorical divisions and apply DOIs accordingly
  • The data should be in an appropriate format (UK PDC can advise).
  • The dataset should be permanent and openly accessible:
  • The data should be of good technical quality:
    • The metadata describing the dataset should be complete
    • By assigning a DOI the UK PDC is effectively giving it the NERC stamp of approval

The association of a DOI with a dataset should not be taken as an indicator of quality.

Data citation and data management plans

Though citation will happen at the end of data collection and submission process, identification of those datasets requiring long-term curation and access should be laid out in the Data Management Plan. This allows for adequate metadata planning, and ensures any permissions and licencing issues can be recognised and addressed. The timescale from data submission to DOI issuance will vary considerably depending on the complexity of the dataset and completeness or otherwise of the metadata. The UK PDC will be able to give an estimate when data is submitted; a simple request takes between 3-5 working days.

Data producer responsibilities

Once the DOI is assigned the requester will receive a formal form of words for the citation. It is then the responsibility of the scientist to ensure that the citation and DOI appear in the literature.

Data centre responsibilities

  • The dataset will be made available for the foreseeable future
  • There will be no additions or deletions of files/records
  • There will be no changes to the directory structure in the dataset “bundle”
  • Changes to the data or format will require a new version of the data and a new DOI
  • The UK PDC will provide a full catalogue page which appears when any user clicks on the DOI hyperlink