Re: [urn] URN:DOI namespace registration request

Paul Jessop <> Tue, 19 January 2021 11:29 UTC

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From: Paul Jessop <>
To: "Henry S. Thompson" <>, "Martin J. Dürst" <>
CC: "Dale R. Worley" <>, "Hakala, Juha E" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>
Thread-Topic: [urn] URN:DOI namespace registration request
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Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2021 11:29:31 +0000
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Subject: Re: [urn] URN:DOI namespace registration request
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Let me give some context:

1. The canonical form of a DOI name as defined in ISO 26324 is the string starting "10dot".

2. The ISO standard says that when " displayed on screen or in print" is should be preceded by "doi:" as a label (rather than as a scheme name). Most of the family of ISO identifiers have similar text in their standards which defines separately the identifier string (to be used in machine to machine activity) and the way to present that string for human consumption. Most use a space as a delimiter and why DOI uses a colon I do not know. The standard notes that the format complies with RFC 3986 but does not claim that the resulting string is a URI - just I suppose that it could become one as we have discovered from the provisional registration.

The DOI Handbook (that I inherited) says the same thing, noting in passing that a browser might in future be able to resolve the doi: form. Of course this has never happened.

3. The ISO standard also notes that the DOI name can be made actionable by prepending the web address of a proxy.
4. There was a perceived need for a URI representation of a DOI name and a DOI registration was made in the "info" URI scheme. However this project did not achieve much traction and is now closed to new registrations (though existing instances remain valid).

5. Most of the applications using DOIs recommend the web address approach. For example Crossref says ( 

> ... always be displayed as a full URL link in the form 

So the “doi:” form is a normative format in the ISO standard but it isn’t formally a URI – it just shares the syntax.

There is a limited revision of the DOI standard under way but it won’t address this issue – though it will collate additional requirements. and resolving any ambiguity resulting from the above is on my list for subsequent work - so we can clarify that when Crossref (and others) recommends the HTTP URI form, they are formally compliant. 

I’m hoping we can then also add the urn:doi:10.xxxx/xxxxx format at the same time as a further normative format.

Thanks as ever to all for giving this attention.

Best regards,

Paul Jessop
Technology Adviser, The DOI Foundation

Paul Jessop              county analytics ltd 
rights - technology - markets - music - media 
---------------------------------------------      +44 7850 685378

On 19/01/2021, 10:40, "Henry S. Thompson" <> wrote:

    Martin J. Dürst writes:

    > ...
    > What I think is important is to do some research on how DOIs are
    > currently used in the wild. In a very quick search, I found the
    > following two at least:
    >   IETF RFCs: DOI 10.17487/RFC3986
    >   ACM Digital Library: DOI:

    Here's another relevant study:

    > I'm very sure I have seen DOIs in URI form (i.e. doi:...), too.

    Indeed.  There are some numbers bearing this out in the above study,
    showing hundreds of thousands of uses of doi: URIs in HTML pages taken
    from Common Crawl, almost entirely in HTML <head> metadata.

           Henry S. Thompson, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
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