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Do I need that DOI?

Yes, you do!

So, what is a DOI anyway? In the words of Chelsea Lee, a contributor to the APA Style Blog, “A DOI, or digital object identifier, is like a social security number for a document online. It’s a unique and permanent identifier that will take you straight to a document no matter where it’s located on the Internet.” Read more at her blog post, “A DOI Primer”.

In other words, even if a journal moves to a new Internet home, the DOI numbers will provide a permanent link to its articles. No more broken links. Just copy and paste the DOI number into Google and you will be taken to the web page where the article is located.

Of course, viewing the full text of an article will usually require a subscription to the journal in which it has been published. Villanova University community users may use our Citation Locator to search for and access the full text of an article via the library’s subscription source. A rather circuitous route, to be sure. But such is the current world of electronic publishing and DRI or digital rights management…but that’s a topic for another day!

If you are creating a bibliography of resources according to APA 6th Style, the DOI is required as the last element of the citation:

And if there is no DOI number? You can try looking it up using the Simple Text Query Form at http://www.crossref.org/SimpleTextQuery/ If unable to find a DOI number, then APA 6th Style recommends noting Retrieved from followed by the URL of the journal’s homepage.

More information on DOI numbers as required by APA 6th Style can be found on pp. 188–192 of the Publication Manual.

Questions? Feel free to contact Barbara.

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Last Modified: October 24, 2011