Answered By: Ellen Hampton Filgo
Last Updated: Jun 22, 2021     Views: 187

A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a unique identifier that identifies digital objects. The object, itself, may change physical locations, but the DOI assigned to that object will never change. Journal publishers are assigning DOIs to electronic copies of individual articles in journals they publish. Because the DOI insures findability for the e-journal article, citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago Manual of Style, Turabian, etc.) are starting to request the use of a DOI in a citation for e-journal content. Below are some methods that can be used to obtain DOIs:


  • Go to and follow the instructions provided there. If this method doesn't yield a DOI, don't assume that a DOI doesn't exist. Follow up with the next two options.
  • If a journal publisher uses DOIs, they will usually print the DOI somewhere on the first page of the article.
  • Some of the online resources used to search for articles on topics will supply DOIs in the citations. View the full citation to see if a DOI is included.


  • Some articles won't have a DOI. The DOI system is a fairly recent concept. For example, the International DOI Foundation was founded in 1998 and the publisher Elsevier appears to have started using DOIs on all of their journal articles around 2003. So unless a publisher has retrospectively assigned DOIs to articles, articles published prior to 2000 are less likely to have DOIs.
  • If you use RefWorks, there is a field for DOIs in the RefWorks database, however, the DOI may not be correctly imported into that field. If a DOI is in the citation, check the RefWorks "notes" field to see if the DOI appears there and move it to the DOI field in the RefWorks record.

Resolving DOIs

If you have a DOI but you don't know how to get to the article to which is is connected, do the following:


  • Go to Resolve a DOI (;
  • Place the DOI (something that looks like: 10.1016/j.aaen.2007.05.002) in the search form;
  • If there's no typo in the DOI, this action should lead you to the article.


However, if you are off campus, you may not have access to the article because it's not possible to authenticate people affiliated with Baylor through the DOI resolver. If you need access to the full text, go to the journal database and search by journal title. If Baylor doesn't have online access, search for it by title in OneSearch to see if the Baylor Libraries have it in print. If it's not available at all from Baylor, request the article from OsoFast in Interlibrary Services.


If you want assistance in finding a DOI, Ask a Librarian.