So many Initiatives and Identifer systems out there. Do they talk to each other?

Dear all,

I am sorry for not posting in the last weeks. I was travelling a lot. For example I attended the winter meeting of ICSTI, the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information .
This body is a great network of libraries and information organisations worldwide that has been very supportive to DataCite from the beginning. At the winter meeting I was furthermore elected vice-president of ICSTI, which is a great honour.
I recommend to everybody to check out the work of ICSTI and to consider attending one of there upcoming events.

Nevertheless, what I would like to discuss today is the general question:
Why are there so many Identifer systems and initiatives out there and why do they not combine their efforts?

If we look at persistent identifer in general, it might be a little confusing, there are for example
DOI names ,
Handles ,
URNs and
ARKs .

So let us present some facts and erase some myths:

  • Any identifer is better then no identifer.
  • DataCite has chosen to assign DOI names to datasets in respect to the fact that for the use case of citing datsets and linking them with scholary publiactions, we believe that DOI names are the right identifer for this task.
  • That does not mean that DataCite is exclusive to DOI names. Some of our members are actively assigning other identifer types to datasets for other use cases.
  • There is, or at last should not be a battle between users of different identifer systems! We are in discussion with other initiatives and very likely will find many opportunities to cooperate.
    I am for example invited to attend the EPIC user meeting in April to discuss possible cooperations between their consortium and DataCite. (for a second, I was tempted to write “us and them” here 🙂 )Furthermore, there will be a meeting in The Hague in the Netherlands organised by the SURF foundation in June, where representatives from the URN, the handle and the DOI comnunity will discuss ways of working together.

What else is happening to cooperate on data issues?

  • CODATA, the Commitee on Data for Science and Technology , an ICSU-body like ICSTI, has started a task group on data citation . This will be a great platform for experts from data centers, publishers, standards organisations and representatives from different Identifer-communities to work together on this highly important topic.
  • Just today, some DataCite colleagues and I had a quick tele-meeting with members from the Dublin Core metadata initiative Science and Metadata Community .
    There has been some discussion recently, if our DataCite metadata scheme is in competition with Dublin Core. It is not and was never intended to be. On the contrary, it includes a Dublin Core mapping, and can be seen as work based on Dublin Core to fullfill a very specific task. From the beginning the work on our metadata scheme was influenced by Dublin Core. When we at TIB however started working on it, way back in 2004, there was no sign that the Dublin Core community was interested in dealing with scientific data.
  • That was why we started our work independently in cooperation with the data centers. As in the last years there has been work in the DCMI on the topic scientific data, I am very glad, that we finally have established this contact and will cooperate definetely more in the future.

  • Oh, and finally: DataCite has joined ORCID, an initiative
    for persistent author identification

So you see, a lot of cooperation is already in place and more to come.
I will keep you up to date on it.



About datacite

Managing Agent DataCite
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