We are Now Registering Preprint DOIs with Crossref

July 11th, 2018, Sara Bowman, Nicole Pfeiffer


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We hear from lots of users about how important Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are to their work DOIs ensure persistent links to content and enhance discoverability of one’s research. At the behest of our users, we began issuing DOIs in 2015, first to public registrations, then to public projects in September 2016, and recently to preprints in July 2017. In all, over 22,000 DOIs were registered for content on the OSF.

The DOIs issued on the OSF have historically been registered with DataCite, through the California Digital Library’s EZID. Earlier this year, we learned that EZID’s services are evolving, and COS was faced with the choice of a new registration agency for DOIs.

This has given us the opportunity to explore how best to support our users and the diverse research outputs they share via OSF. Ultimately, COS decided to pursue registering DOIs with two separate agencies to provide users with services tailored to their needs: registering DOIs for preprints with Crossref and DOIs for projects and registrations with DataCite.

Registering preprint DOIs with Crossref

Registering preprint DOIs with Crossref offers particular benefits:

  • Crossref DOIs link  preprints with their published articles, connecting different parts of the research lifecycle and help readers see the evolution of the work

  • Crossref’s preprint-specific metadata schema enhances discovery

  • Crossref DOIs automatically update a researcher’s  ORCID profiles with preprint metadata, when the authors have logged into OSF via ORCID (Learn how here)

OSF Preprints and its 21 community-supported preprint servers register DOIs with Crossref, joining 7 others services in reporting metadata about preprints. As of May 24, 2018, there were more than 44,000 preprints registered with Crossref. OSF Preprints and its community-supported preprint servers add an additional 13,000+, and growing every day.



Preprints posted on OSF Preprints prior to July 1, 2018 have been re-registered with Crossref and issued new DOIs accordingly; however, the old DOIs will always resolve to the content.

Datacite and Projects/Registrations

COS has become a member of DataCite and will continue to register DOIs for projects and registrations using Datacite’s community-developed schema, supporting persistent identifiers for research data and other objects. The non-profit organization promotes an open culture of data sharing through infrastructure that facilitates data citation, discovery, and access. So far, our users have created DOIs for over 8,000 research objects, enhancing discoverability of these works.


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