If you are unfamiliar with the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) system, it provides a unique identifier for published works, one that operates as a persistent link to those works. Using this identifier, researchers can search for the work in question using just the DOI by adding “doi.org/” to the front of it.
While the DOI system is great, when you search for a research article using its DOI, you typically are pointed to the publisher’s’ version of the object in question. In the case of academic research, this version is often inaccessible unless the researcher wants to pay for it (or has access through a university library or other institution). But, given the proliferation of open access repositories, many papers are now available for free in some form, but in a different location. As the oaDOI developers explain the situation, if we are “given the DOI of a paper, how can we find the open version, given there are so many different repositories?”
Enter oaDOI, a tool that uses the DOI of a paper to help readers find an open version. Here’s how it works: users can replace the “doi.org/” prefix with “oadoi.org/,” and they will be redirected to an open version of the article (if it exists).
Here’s an example of a paper in Nature that was published both in the journal, and in Harvard’s open repository. From the post:
- DOI gets you a paywall page: doi.org/10.1038/ng.3260
- oaDOI gets you a PDF: oadoi.org/10.1038/ng.3260
This should be a useful tool for researchers who don’t have access to publisher databases (such as new graduated students who lose access through their school’s library) and will raise the profile of open-access databases.
Banner image credit: opensource.com