British Library guest post: DOIs at research data spring

The UK DataCite DOI specialists Rachael Kotarski and Stephen Andrews joined us at the first research data spring workshop back in February along with all the idea enthusiasts and research data management experts. They got involved with a number of projects that are trying to integrate DOIs and other persistent identifiers within the research data workflow.

DOIs and issues of identifiers are extremely important within the work that we are taking forward as part of Research at Risk.  They are especially relevant to the activity we’re doing on defining best practice & improved metadata schemas, the research data discovery project and the work we’re currently scoping on usage of research data and associated metrics.

A few weeks ago we also posted a guest blog from ORCID’s Josh Brown, who noted how some projects incorporated ORCID IDs for researchers. Below, Rachel discusses further the work that the British Library has done around DataCite DOIs and how these are being integrated within the funded research data spring projects.

Thank you Rachael for your very helpful links and insights.


By working with organisations to assign persistent identifiers to datasets and other research objects, DataCite is developing an infrastructure that supports simple and effective methods of data citation, discovery, and access. Citable data become legitimate contributions to scholarly communication, paving the way for new metrics and publication models that recognise and reward data sharing.

The British Library, as a member of DataCite, is working with organisations in the UK to enable them to assign DOIs to datasets, thereby helping to reap the benefits of this infrastructure for UK research.

There are a number of Research Data Spring projects where DataCite has a direct relevance and with whom we are already actively working with to ensure citability and persistent linking to data and other research objects. We’re working with the Unlocking Thesis Data project to look at the workflow for assigning identifiers to theses and their related data and other outputs. We’re also looking at the recommendations for citing software with the Software Reuse, Repurposing and Reproducibility project.

But any projects exploring reuse, tracking or metrics will need citation and persistent identification as a key element. Those include (and are by no means limited to): Enabling Complex Analysis of Large Scale Digital Collections; Giving Researchers Credit for their Data; and Sound Matters: a Framework for Use and Reuse of Sound.

Both the Sound Matters and the Clipper project may be able to make use of some of the advanced features of using DOIs, such as the citation of video segments e.g.:,01:58

Luckily for almost all projects in Research Data Spring, we are already working with 36 Universities, which means they will have at least one partner on the project that can take advantage of the institution’s test account to create test DOIs for proofs of concept and real live DOIs beyond that.

And for those that aren’t working with us yet? We would love to hear from you to find out how we can help. Even if you won’t be able to commit to creating real live DOIs in the work, we can provide a test account with no commitment from you to beyond the project. Just drop us an email at

While we may be working with 50 organisations in the UK and DataCite working with many more globally, our work is still only just beginning. Through DataCite and the British Library’s work on the ODIN project and its follow-up THOR, we aim to link together identifiers so that researchers can move seamlessly between research objects and their creators for better discovery, reuse and credit for data sharing.

We hope that all the Research Data Spring projects can make use of these links so that ultimately every UK researcher and their work can be as discoverable as possible!


rachael kotarskiAbout the author
Rachael Kotarski is the datasets content and services lead at the British Library. You can find more about DataCite and get involved in workshops and events here.