What is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)?

A DOI is a unique identifier that provides a persistent link to an article online. APA style now requires a DOI when citing scholarly research articles that are found online (including Oregon Tech library’s databases).

Example: Brinkmann, S. (2009). Facts, values, and the naturalistic fallacy in psychology. New Ideas In Psychology, 27(1), 1-17. doi: 10.1016/j.newideapsych.2007.10.001

What if the article I am citing does not have a DOI?

Some research databases, such as Academic Search Premier, PsycINFO, and PsycARTICLES, include DOIs in their article records (if one is available).  If a database does not include a DOI in its article records, use CrossRef.org website’s “free DOI lookup” to see if a DOI exists for that article.

What if CrossRef cannot find a DOI?

If the DOI of the desired article is still unavailable, two alternatives are acceptable: 

  • Give the exact URL of the article (if it is in open access and no sign-in is required)
  • Give the URL of the journal publisher’s home page (if it is from a licensed database)

Taken in part from:Lewis, L. A. (2008). From the front lines: An academic librarian’s reports on the impact of APA’s new Electronic References Guidelines. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 48(2),128-131.


last updated: October 2018

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