Get a DOI

Each DOI uniquely, unequivocally and permanently identifies the assigned object.

Register data

Reliable identification and citation of research data, especially one which has been used to answer a particular research question, is still limited.
Even with well-agreed standards, classic bibliographic methods of data citation have their limits when research data have been used several times or are stored in different locations.
One viable solution to this problem is the use of specific persistent identifiers.

The DOI system

The DOI system is a procedure for the persistent identification of content offered in digital networks. It is used to identify physical, digital, or other objects. The identifiers (DOI names) lead directly to the storage location of the designated object. Technically, the DOI system is based on the Handle Technology developed by the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) and administered by the DONA Foundation. It is supplemented by a metadata model that links the core metadata belonging to the object (e.g., issueDate) with the DOI name and stores them in the handle system, see: DOI Kernel Metadata Declaration. Based on standard rules and the technical infrastructure of the International DOI Foundation IDF, the DOI system is implemented by an association of currently ten registration agencies.
For more historical and technical background information on the DOI system, please see the DOI Handbook


DataCite is one of the IDF-accredited registration agencies and provides the DOI registration service for research data. DataCite is an international association founded in London in 2009 with members from more than 20 countries who share the goal of promoting the acceptance of research data as independent, citable scientific objects. DataCite members enable data owners, stewards, or archives to assign persistent identifiers to research data.

In 2020 DataCite has changed its membership model and offers three types of membership: 1) Member-only (this type of Member wants to collaborate with DataCite or be part of DataCite’s governance. These Members do not register DOIs. 2) Direct Member (this type of Member is a consumer of DOI services and consists of an organization that works with one or more repositories within their organization.) 3) Consortium Member (A consortium is a group of like-minded organizations that have come together to participate in DataCite’s community and governance activities collectively and use DataCite’s DOI services. Consortia are generally located in a single country or subject-based.)

The DARA Consortium

The Leibniz institutions GESIS and ZBW have been early members of DataCite, and the joint DOI registration service da|ra has been in operation since 2010. Even though the change of the membership model of DataCite GESIS and ZBW have decided to continue the service and set up the DARA Consortium in 2020, which was built from the former da|ra users. GESIS has the lead and represents the Consortium in DataCite.

Become a DARA Consortium Organisation

Social science and economic research organizations that want to register DOIs for research data can apply for membership in the DARA Consortium. Only institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and government research and funding agencies are entitled to be covered under the Consortium.
GESIS as the Consortium Lead represents all organizations within the Consortium and takes on the membership responsibilities that are dictated by DataCite’s statutes. Consortium Organizations are not individual members of the DataCite association and are represented by the Consortium Lead.

Digital objects eligible for DOI registration are research data at various formats and levels, including survey responses, business and administrative records, statistics, data derived from scoring systems (e.g., consumer scores or grades in schools and universities), text, audio, video, qualitative interviews, or internet usage data. Varying degrees of aggregation from the individual level to the nation state (and beyond) result in different restrictions on storing, using, and sharing data (cf. Figure 1 in KonsortSWD).

Single researchers or temporary research groups which request a DOI name for their social or economic data may use the data services offered by GESIS.

download DARA Consortium Agreement

da|ra Policy

Our policy defines all guidelines for the allocation of DOI names through the registration agency da|ra.
It determines all mutual responsibilities and liabilities arising through the allocation for the DOI-receiver (consortium organisation) and the registration agency da|ra.

The policy is based on the DataCite Agreemenent for the da|ra Consortium which GESIS and DataCite have agreed upon in 2020.
This policy statement is to formally establish the requirements under which the da|ra may assign a persistent identifier in the form of a DOI. In addition this will also delineate the rights and responsibilities resulting for the consortium organisation and the registration agency da|ra, from the assignment.
The policy also dictates the required decision-making authority. It is primarily directed at the consortium organisation.

download da|ra policy

download English version: da|ra policy

Service Level Agreement

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) must be completed with a da|ra operator (GESIS, ZBW) prior to the granting of a user account required for DOI registration.

The SLA regulates the contractual relationship between the operators of da|ra (GESIS Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences or the Leibniz Information Centre for Economics) and the consortium organisation regarding DOI registration according to the terms and conditions set out in the current version of the da|ra policy.

The SLA comprises:

  1. Description of services
  2. DOI naming and granularity
  3. Technical interfaces and workflow
  4. Metadata quality and updates
  5. Warranty and liability
  6. Regulation of use
  7. Cost model
  8. Notice of termination
  9. Final provisions

To obtain further information please contact us. We will get in touch with you right away with information about the requirements for concluding a SLA.

DOI and Metadata

Every DOI name is linked to a set of metadata, a collection of bibliographical and content information, which refer to the registered dataset (title, author, publication date, copyright etc.).

Via the metadata, the DOI name presents not only an identifier but also provides additional relevant information about the dataset, thus becoming an essential tool for data management and exchange.

The metadata, as well as the DOI name itself, to which it is allocated, are permanently linked with the digital object described. This makes it easy to bring it into the research process, for example, when citing data. Metadata equally enhance the reproducibility of the research process considerably. Metadata is also a key element for DOI-based services like databases and searching.

Ensuring that metadata is persistent does not exclude its modifiability. Data producers have the opportunity to amend the metadata describing their datasets (for example, in case the primary URL where the DOI name resolves has been modified, etc.) whenever and as often as needed.