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Last Updated: Jun 8, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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What is a DOI?

Web addresses on the Internet may change or disappear without notice at any time. A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a unique alphanumeric string used to identify an individual digital document and provide a permanent link to it on the Internet. The DOI will take you directly to the document no matter where it is located.

Most major publishers now include DOIs for articles published in their journals. Article DOIs may also be found in databases that index articles.

Many colleges and universities  require that DOIs be included on references for research papers.

DOI numbers begin with 10 and contain a prefix and a suffix separated by a slash:





When Do I need to use a DOI in a reference citation?

Consult the DOI and URL Flowchart for the sixth edition of the the APA Publication Manual to determine when to include DOIs, URLs or database information for your references.


Where can I find DOIs?

- On the first page of an article

- In some periodical databases such as CINAHL and other EBSCOhost databases

- In article bibliographies

- On  journal web sites.

However, many books and older print articles are not available electronically and do not have DOIs.

If a DOI is not provided, try searching for it using Crossref free DOI lookup.


If I have the DOI, how can I find the document?

To go directly to a document, copy and paste the DOI into a DOI link resolver: DOI resolver

The DOI System DOI resolver

Search by PubMed ID Number or DOI (Scroll down near bottom of page.)

To find a document using your Internet browser, copy and paste the DOI into the address bar, adding to the beginning of the address: 

 NOTE: DOI may lead to publisher page where you will be asked for a credit card. Before buying anything, try Library's All Journals & E-Books tab to see if our Library has access to that journal. If not, you can request articles at If it's work-related, there won't be any charge.

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