Answered By: Timothy Grasso
Last Updated: Jan 10, 2019     Views: 12

What is a DOI?

"A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique identifier associated with an object, such as an electronic document.

A publisher might assign a journal article a DOI when it is published online; however, DOIs may be assigned to more than just articles. [Other examples of objects which sometimes have DOIs include images, data and data sets, books, and book chapters.] The benefit of a DOI is it is a persistent identifier that is available and managed over time; this means it will not change if the item or object is moved or renamed (From EZID)."

"All DOI numbers begin with a 10 and contain a prefix and a suffix separated by a slash. The prefix is a unique number of four or more digits assigned to organizations; the suffix is assigned by the publisher and was designed to be flexible with publisher identification standards." (From APA)

If you need help finding the electronic location of a DOI article, you can type the reference into the DOI resolver at​

DOIs and APA citation

[APA] recommend[s] that when DOIs are available, you include them for both print and electronic sources. The DOI is typically located on the first page of the electronic journal article, near the copyright notice. The DOI can also be found on the database landing page for the article." (From APA.)

CrossRef, a major DOI publisher, recently updated their recommendations for DOI citations. The recommended format is now:

Here is how that looks in an APA Style reference:

Morey, C. C., Cong, Y., Zheng, Y., Price, M., & Morey, R. D. (2015). The color-sharing bonus: Roles of perceptual organization and attentive processes in visual working memory. Archives of Scientific Psychology, 3, 18–29.

Although the preferred style is listed above, older DOI formats are still acceptable in APA. For example:

For more information visit the APA style blog.