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General information on UK DataCite

The British Library, as a member of DataCite, is working with data centres to enable them to assign DOIs to datasets, thereby helping to make the data discoverable, accessible and citable. If you are a data centre/data publisher and would like to work with us, please read the following sections. 


You may also find our guide useful: 

Working with the British Library and DataCite: A Guide for Higher Education Institutions in the UK


If you are interested in using this service, please get in touch. 


If you are already working with us, please visit the section for registered clients.

What is DataCite?

DataCite is a global network of national libraries, data centres and other research organisations that works to increase the recognition of data as legitimate, citable contributions to the scholarly record. DataCite contributes to the emerging research data infrastructure by providing Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for datasets and other research outputs. DOI assignment helps to make all research objects persistently identifiable and citable.

In addition, DataCite promotes standards for data citation and description, and through its network of member organisations, creates an international community of users which helps to establish best-practices for the citation and management of research data.

The British Library is the DataCite member and Allocation Agent for DataCite DOIs in the United Kingdom. We also aim to support our users and the UK research community in understanding the role of identification and citation in data management and curation.

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What are DOIs?

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are persistent identifiers that are used to uniquely identify an object (which may itself be physical or digital) in the digital environment. A DOI name is easily and quickly resolved using the International DOI Foundation resolver, For example:

The DOI system is an internationally recognised and supported standard, managed by the International DOI Foundation. For more information, see

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How simple is it to create and update DOIs?

We have created some short videos that demonstrate how easy it is to create DOIs for individual datasets:

Minting DOIs and uploading metadata

Updating DOIs

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How do DOIs work?

This simplest explanation is this: A data centre links a DOI with the web address (URL) of a dataset. If a data centre moves or changes the address of the dataset, it must also update the DOI with the new address so that it still points users to the same data in its new location. If you want to find out more details about how DOIs work, there is a wealth of information at

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What do you mean by 'research data'?

We do not have a set definition for research data – the material that researchers use as data is so varied across disciplines and research methods that to define one would inevitably leave out something important! Some people will tell you they can’t say what data is, but they know it when they see it. So what you define as research data is up to you, but we can point you towards these example definitions: The NSF considers data to be “any and all complex data entities from observations, experiments, simulations, models, and higher order assemblies, along with the associated documentation needed to describe and interpret the data”. The EPSRC define data in their policy framework “as recorded factual material commonly retained by and accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings; although the majority of such data is created in digital format, all research data is included irrespective of the format in which it is created”.

DataCite is not exclusively used for data. Examples of the research objects that already have DataCite DOIs includes text archives, image collections, software, physical objects and theses.

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How can data centres work with the British Library to get DOIs?

If you are considering signing up for DataCite DOIs with the British Library, these are the steps to getting started with the service:

1) Decide whether DataCite DOIs are right for your organisation and data.

You should consider whether you meet the basic requirements set out in our DataCite checklist:

  • You have the authority to assign DOIs to data
  • You can guarantee data persistence
  • The data is accessible to external users
  • The data has citation potential.

You must also be able to commit to ongoing responsibilities:

  • Provide and maintain at least the mandatory DataCite metadata for each item with a DOI
  • Make metadata openly available without restriction (under Creative Commons Zero waiver)
  • Maintain a publicly accessible landing pages for each item with a DOI.

2) Test account (optional)

You have the option to find out more before making a final decision by requesting access to a test account. As test account allows you to register temporary DOIs and to explore how the service fits within your workflows. Find out more about Test Accounts.

3) Contract and costs

The next step is to enter into a contract with the British Library. Contracts are for an initial term of three years; a period that indicates a level of commitment from both parties. Institutions are charged a fixed annual fee which allows them to register an unlimited number of DOIs.

4) Implementing DataCite DOIs

Once the contract is agreed, we will provide you with a Metadata Store account and unique DOI prefix so that you can begin minting DOIs for your data.

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I am a researcher, how can I get a DOI for my data?

The British Library DataCite service works with organisations. Individuals should contact their institution or relevant data centre for advice, in the first instance. You may find the repository search tool Re3Data ( useful, although not all of these repositories may issue DOIs to submitted data.

If your institution is not working with the British Library DataCite Service, then please contact us at to discuss your requirements further.

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Can I get DOIs for my project to test how they would work for me/my institution?

Yes! We can set up a testing account for you. This will allow you to create testing DOIs so that you can see how well the system works for you, and how you would create DOIs for your content. These DOIs will NOT be permanent and will not resolve via the global Handle registry (although they will still resolve with the URL we give you), but they will behave as normal DOIs in every other way. Contact us to find out more and set up an account. (See DataCite test accounts for more).

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What is the mandatory metadata and why is it necessary?

Metadata is an integral part of the DataCite system. By associating good quality metadata with a DOI in the Metadata Store, your data is made more visible, accessible and usable.The mandatory metadata provides the key elements of a citation. For example:

Li, D et al and the Escherichia coli O104:H4 TY-2482 isolate genome sequencing consortium (2011): Genomic data from Escherichia coli O104:H4 isolate TY-2482. BGI Shenzhen.

The DataCite Metadata Schema is available from here.

The metadata can also be used for other purposes, such as search via the DataCite Metadata Store or it can be integrated into other systems or web sites using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH).

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Will the British Library store my data?

No. Data centres are responsible for managing, preserving and providing access to their own data. DataCite stores only the metadata associated with the registered data set, the URL to the data set landing page and the registered DOI assigned to the data.

If you are looking for an appropriate place to store your data, please check the list of repositories available here.

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Is there a cost for signing up to the service?

Yes, there is a cost for the using the service to assign DOIs, based on an annual subscription fee. Please contact us at to discuss your requirements further. 

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What if I am not based in the UK?

If you are not based in the UK, please check the DataCite website to discover if there are members based in your country. A list of members can be found here.

If there is currently no DataCite representative in your country, contact the Managing Agent, using the form available on, who will advise you further. 

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How can I contact you?

Please email us in the first instance at: 

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Click here for Information for UK DataCite Clients

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