Have you ever followed a link only to find a 404 error instead of the page you wanted? This is called link rot. Where content “lives” on the internet can be unstable for a number of reasons, such as removal of content, website restructuring, and changes to domain names (hello SAGE Journals and Oxford Academic (OUP) who both have migrations in progress at the moment). Alongside link rot, trust and authority control (establishment and maintenance of consistent forms of terms) can be difficult to establish on the web.
A persistent identifier (PI or PID) is a long-lasting reference to a document, file, web page, or other object. Using PIDs helps to combat problems of link rot and authority control. There are different sorts of PIDs depending of the type of entity being referred to:
- A digital object identifier (DOI) (such as those registered with Crossref) is used to uniquely identify objects, particularly electronic documents such as journal articles. Loyal readers of this blog may remember Crossref as the sponsor of 23 Things Oxford back in 2010 🙂
- An ORCID iD uniquely identifies researchers – here is my ORCID iD. ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID.
Bibliographic identifiers such as ISBN and ISSN have been in use since the 1970s. As ISBN is to a book, DOI is to an article, and ORCID iD to a person.
Your ORCID iD connects with your ORCID Record that can contain links to your research activities, affiliations, awards, other versions of your name, and more. You control this content and who can see it. Sign up for an ORCID iD today!
Further reading: Persistent identifiers – an overview by Juha Hakala, and watch this quick Crossref video about how technology helps connect metadata in scholarly research: