DataCite: Lessons Learned on Persistent Identifiers for Research Data

Laura Rueda, Martin Fenner, Patricia Cruse

2016, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 39-47



Data are the infrastructure of science and they serve as the groundwork for scientific pursuits. Data publication has emerged as a game-changing breakthrough in scholarly communication. Data form the outputs of research but also are a gateway to new hypotheses, enabling new scientific insights and driving innovation. And yet stakeholders across the scholarly ecosystem, including practitioners, institutions, and funders of scientific research are increasingly concerned about the lack of sharing and reuse of research data. Across disciplines and countries, researchers, funders, and publishers are pushing for a more effective research environment, minimizing the duplication of work and maximizing the interaction between researchers. Availability, discoverability, and reproducibility of research outputs are key factors to support data reuse and make possible this new environment of highly collaborative research.

An interoperable e-infrastructure is imperative in order to develop new platforms and services for to data publication and reuse. DataCite has been working to establish and promote methods to locate, identify and share information about research data. Along with service development, DataCite supports and advocates for the standards behind persistent identifiers (in particular DOIs, Digital Object Identifiers) for data and other research outputs. Persistent identifiers allow different platforms to exchange information consistently and unambiguously and provide a reliable way to track citations and reuse. Because of this, data publication can become a reality from a technical standpoint, but the adoption of data publication and data citation as a practice by researchers is still in its early stages.

Since 2009, DataCite has been developing a series of tools and services to foster the adoption of data publication and citation among the research community. Through the years, DataCite has worked in a close collaboration with interdisciplinary partners on these issues and we have gained insight into the development of data publication workflows. This paper describes the types of different actions and the lessons learned by DataCite.


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The International Journal of Digital Curation. ISSN: 1746-8256
The IJDC is published by the University of Edinburgh
and is a publication of the Digital Curation Centre.