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Electronic Theses & Dissertations (ETD)

What is a DOI?

"A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency (the International DOI Foundation) to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet. The publisher assigns a DOI when your article is published and made available electronically."

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). What is a digital object identifier, or DOI? Retrieved from

Oops! Finding DOIs after the fact

Ed.D. students should look for DOIs during the research process and copy and paste the DOIs strings.  As per Chelsea Lee (2009), typing the DOIs may lead to transcription errors.

What happens if you forgot to look for DOIs?  There's a solution -

"To search for DOIs, use CrossRef. The free DOI lookup searches for DOIs using information such as article title, authors, and publisher information. Or cut and paste your entire reference list into the Simple Text Query form and CrossRef will return all available DOIs at once."

Lee, C. (2009, September 21. A DOI primer [Web log post]. Retrieved from



If you find an article that does not have a DOI:

  • If you found the article in one of the library's databases, then treat the item like a print article. Do not include information about the database or any other URLS.
    • For articles found in library databases, open up the PDF document. Many times the DOI will be listed there.
    • Do some additional searching to see if the article has a DOI number.
  • If you found the article on the open web, then you should include the URL of the article and the date that you accessed the article (in case the URL link changes later).