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In case you missed it there was a change in dois for journal articles during March 2017.

What’s a doi

A doi is a digital object identifier. Basically it’s a way to standardize a connection to a unique article. Searching for a doi will bring up the same article, and articles that reference it, across platforms, in different databases. Operated by a company called CrossRef they were a series of numbers.

doi: 10.1111/j.1744-618X.2006.00025.x

What’s the Change?

As of March 2017 they’ve changed the doi to a link. The first part refers to their website, a short abbreviation of the journal title replaces the numbers that were corresponding to that name, and the end of the doi number is the same. Some will have the first section of the url be just doi.org. Others will have dx.doi.org. That looks different to you, but not to the doi system. Use whichever version you find in the citation information of your article.


It must be in the format in the example above. The url of the article doesn’t count. Even though this will get you to the same link, it isn’t the doi.


How Do We Handle This? APA

At least for now APA is fine with you using either style. Some databases have retrofitted articles that were issued with the numbers only doi with the new link format. Other databases have so far retained the numbers only version on previously published journal articles. Watch for both kinds when you are trying to identify the doi. For more details.

How Do We Handle This? MLA

So far MLA has not addressed this change. In accordance to their 8th edition laissez faire attitude and lack of focus on dois, they may not. Until and if they do check with each individual instructor how they want to see them handled and if they want them included.

According to the MLA Stylebook (8th ed.) p. 48:

We therefore recommend the inclusion of URLs in the works-cited list, but if your instructor prefers that you not include them, follow his or her directions.

The publisher of a work on the Web can change its URL at any time. If your source offers URLs that it says are stable (sometimes called permalinks), use them in your entry….Some publisher assign DOIs or digital object indentifiers to their online publications. A DOI remains attached to a source even if the URL changes. When possible, citing a DOI is preferable to citing a URL. [emphasis theirs]

NOTE: Link shortening services like tinyurl or bitly do not count as permalinks and should NOT be used.

Thank you to librarian Julie Petersen for finding the APA blog link.

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.