The accessibility and re-usability of digital resources over time can be assured by the application of persistent identification.

Persistent identifiers – what and why

An identifier is a unique identification code that is applied to 'something', so that the 'something' can be unambiguously referenced.
A persistent identifier is an identifier that is effectively permanently, and unambiguously assigned to an object e.g. ISBNs, DOIs, and national insurance numbers.

Short-term benefits

  • Globally unique identification can help to reduce confusion over multiple versions of a given resource.
  • Persistent identifiers can help to improve the ease of locatability of distributed resources thereby facilitating access and re-use of resources for new research.
  • Identifier strategies can integrate legacy naming systems and promote interoperability.

Long-term value

  • The application of identifiers may indicate a level of commitment on the part of the creating organisation. This can have a positive impact on the levels of trust towards that institution.
  • Identifiers may help to provide provenance information which can positively impact the authenticity of a resource over time.

The above is taken from GBIF (2011). A Beginner’s Guide to Persistent Identifiers, version 1.0. Released on 9 February 2011. Authors Kevin Richards, Richard White, Nicola Nicolson, Richard Pyle, Copenhagen: Global Biodiversity Information Facility, 33 pp, accessible onlinepdf

What is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)?

DataCite provide this definition:

The Digital Object Identifier (DOI®) System is for identifying content objects in the digital environment.

DOI® names are assigned to any entity for use on digital networks. They are used to provide current information, including where they (or information about them) can be found on the Internet.

Information about a digital object may change over time, including where to find it, but its DOI name will not change.

The system is managed by the International DOI Foundation, an open membership consortium including both commercial and non-commercial members.  Over 40 million DOI names have been assigned by DOI System Registration Agencies.

Minting a DOI

DOI names are widely used in scientific publishing to cite journal articles. More 98% of all DOI registered are for scholarly articles. The use of DOI names for the citing of data sets makes their provenance trackable and citable and therefore allows interoperability with existing reference services.

Link rot

"Link rot" is a term used to describe the fact that web URLs fail over time – studies have found half URLs in scholarly publications will fail after seven to ten years
(Diomidis Spinellis, “The Decay and Failures of Web References” COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM January 2003/Vol. 46, No. 1 -)

Further Information

Research Data material:

RDM Principles

Data Planning Documents

DMP Documents - Small file

Poster (pdf pdf)

University of Leicester Research Data Management poster

Brochure (pdf pdf)


Blog Data For Research Blog




Input and feedback

August 2018 - This website will be relaunched in September 2018. Feedback and input is welcome, so please let the library research services team know what type of content you would like to be included on the website by contacting us at

RDM news and events
  1. The University of Leicester Figshare for data digital archive is now available for research staff and PhD students. User guidance on upload/data deposit.
  2. Information Governance training is now available, provided by e-LfH (an NHS organisation). The University has registered to access this NHS resource and individual accounts can be set up by sending name and email address to Andrew Burnham.
  3. There is now a standard University Privacy Impact Assessment process where data collection or receipt, or systems purchase or development may have privacy consequences
  4. The University has adopted a simple data classification model which must be applied by the research PI and/or data owner
  5. We share our RDM survey: overview findings presentation as well as the results of our 2015 survey on Your research data management needs
  6. There is now a University Information Governance web presence
  7. Our Data Management Planning documents have been updated - hard copies can be obtained if you contact
  8. Jisc has published a new RDM strategy document - "Directions for RDM Management in UK Universities"
  9. The Partridge Review - HSCIC Data Release Review - Full report (3.58 Mb) and Summary
  10. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have published a new Research data policy underpinned by nine core principles and Data management plan guidance (26/03/2015)
  11. RDM Principles approved by the University.
  12. DMPonline version 4.0 - DCC "DMPonline" (Data Management Planning) v4 has gone live. You can use this web based form to create your Data Management Plan, and share it with your collaborators.
  13. Research funder specific web pages (accessible via 'Data Planning & Management - What you need to do') for data planning and management guidance (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, and STFC)
  14. 'Data Planning & Management - what you need to' - a web page to take you through what you need to do about data planning and management.
  15. 'RDM - The Movie' is released! The 4 minute digital story of research data work here at Leicester.

... more News and Events

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