Wikipedia:Digital Object Identifier

A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique persistent identifier to a published work, similar in concept to an ISBN. Wikipedia supports the use of DOI to link to published content. Where a journal source has a DOI, it is good practice to use it, in the same way as it is good practice to use ISBN references for book sources.

How to use DOIs in content


There are several ways to cite a reference via DOI. In general, you should avoid entering explicit URLs to the website. By using one of the following methods, the actual links are centrally managed and can be adjusted, if the external website alters the way the URLs must be formatted.

Wikipedia "doi:" interwiki links

A wiki-formatted link, for example:


Is handled and displayed as:


A DOI is not case-sensitive.

The {{doi}} template

This is an alternative way to generate a link to the article.




It generates an external URL link rather than a wikilink. In addition, the "doi:" string is displayed as a separate link (to the Digital object identifier page) rather than being part of the reference link itself. This template is also used internally in various {{cite}} templates via a parameter doi=.

Generating citations


Wikipedia citations (including DOI) can be generated from the DOI by several citation tools such as Citer. Many tools can generate a full citation from a variety of reference IDs, e.g. DOI, ISBN, PMID, PMCID, OCLC.

Note that these Wikipedia guidelines do not conform to revised DOI display guidelines issued by CrossRef, which recommend displaying DOIs in URL format, for example,[1]

Why use DOI?


This approach avoids a number of common issues with citations in Wikipedia:

  • Broken links as publishers or web server move or reorganise content (error 404).
  • Copy-paste errors in citation text.
  • Copyright violation, accidental or deliberate; the DOI citation goes to a source identified as appropriate by the rights owner.
  • Verifiability enhancements; the DOI will always lead to the correct source, so modifications of abstracts or even content is avoided.
  • Preferential treatment. DOI links, like our ISBN book sources, will offer the user a choice of sources where one exists.
  • Academic users may receive a local full-text source

When not to use DOI

  • DOI should not be used when it is erroneously directed to a wrong article.
  • When an open-access page of an article is available but the DOI links to a page with a paywall, it may be better to omit DOI, and use the URL of the open access page, and include as much metadata (title, authors, journal, ...) as possible to locate the article in case the URL becomes dead. This may have disadvantages; for example, a useful preprint of a paywalled paper may be available from a URL source such as ResearchGate, but a link to the final version is still desirable.


  1. ^ "CrossRef DOI Display Guidlines". CrossRef website. CrossRef. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  • Citer, the latest version