On Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 6:58 PM, Jodi Schneider
<jodi.a.schnei...@gmail.com> wrote:
> The first question is: what are they trying to accomplish by having DOIs?

DOIs are just a form of Handle, which is a persistent URL schema. I
don't think I need to explain what PURLs are designed to accomplish.

> If they're looking for persistent identifiers, I don't understand (a
> priori), why DOI is better, as an identifier scheme, than any other
> 'persistent identifier scheme' (ARK [1], PURL, Handle, etc[2]). (Though I
> really like CrossRef and the things they're doing.)

The advantage is that DOIs over other PURLs are used only for citation
purposes. As someone who works with a lot of students and faculty, I
have observed that DOIs are becoming familiar to them as a definitive
citation identifier. As more journals, publishing in an online
environment, stop using page numbers in their citations and turn
instead to article identifiers -- e.g., citations like this one:

Neylon C, Wu S (2009) Article-Level Metrics and the Evolution of
Scientific Impact. PLoS Biol 7(11): e1000242.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000242

then DOIs become the most consistently recognizable identifier for
constructing findable citations. So, you could use a PURL, but they
wouldn't be understood to mean the same thing.

Also, DOIs are not dependent on a single resolver -- i.e., you don't
have to send them through http://dx.doi.org/ although that's largely
been the case up to this point in time. PURLs tend to be
server-specific. We don't have to think too far back to recall an
instance when a PURL server failed, causing some temporary access
problems. Hopefully, DOIs are less vulnerable to this -- although this
certainly hasn't been tested.

And, responding to Jonathan, who said:
>investigating whether every cited article has a DOI and then making sure
>to include it... is non-trivial labor.

It certainly is if you have to go back and apply them to a backfile of
published articles. However, with the Code4Lib Journal, I've been
doing this all along in the articles I've edited. CrossRef has good
tools for finding this information and when that fails, I go to the
cited article itself. Some work, yes, but I figure that's part of my
job as an editor.

Tom

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