What is a DOI? How do I find one?


DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier, a system used to identify content online. A DOI is a unique number assigned to items, like scholarly articles, on the Web. A DOI looks like this:


Some citation styles, such as APA, now require DOIs in references to electronic articles.

If you have an article citation without a DOI, you can look up the DOI at CrossRef.org. Likewise, if you have a DOI but not the citation information, you can look up the citation at DOI.org.

For example, pasting the DOI above into the search box on DOI.org, retrieves this citation information:

 Mechanical supports for acute, severe ankle sprain: a pragmatic, multicentre,randomised controlled trial
The Lancet, Volume 373, Issue 9663, Pages 575-581
S. Lamb, J. Marsh, J. Hutton, R. Nakash, M. Cooke

Putting the citation information above into the CrossRef.org form, retrieves this DOI:


Some articles and journals do not provide DOIs--it is the publisher's preference to include or not to include a DOI. When citing an article without a DOI, check the style manual (APA, AMA, ect.) for guidance.

  • Last Updated Mar 02, 2022
  • Views 1218
  • Answered By Kara Van Abel

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