What is a DOI and how do I use it in citations?


DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier.  A DOI is a permanent and unique string of letters, numbers, and symbols assigned to an electronic resource such as an article, book, or conference paper.

All DOI numbers start with a '10'. A DOI usually looks something like this: 10.1111/jocn.14762

Not all electronic resources have a DOI.  DOI numbers can usually be found:

  • on the first page of an electronic article or other resource
  • at the bottom of the abstract or detailed record, if found in the library's databases
  • on the publisher's website
  • Use Crossref.org free DOI lookup to find a DOI

To convert a DOI to a web address, add https://doi.org/ to beginning of the DOI. Example:  https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.14762


A DOI is placed at the end of a citation.  Most citation guides, including APA and MLA, recommend using the DOI when citing journal articles.  Unlike a URL, the DOI never changes.

APA example: 

  •      Tuominen, L., Stolt, M., Meretoja, R., & Leino-Kilpi, H. (2019). Effectiveness of nursing interventions among patients with cancer: An overview of systematic reviews. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 28(13-14), 2401-2419. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.14762.
  • More examples from Purdue Online Writing Lab

MLA example: 

  • Tuominen, Leena, et al. “Effectiveness of Nursing Interventions among Patients with Cancer: An Overview of Systematic Reviews.” Journal of Clinical Nursing, vol. 28, no. 13–14, 2019, pp. 2401-2419. EBSCOhost, https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.14762. Accessed 10 July 2019.
  • More examples from Purdue Online Writing Lab


Still having trouble using a DOI or citing a source?  Ask a Librarian for help!

  • Last Updated Jun 12, 2024
  • Views 93
  • Answered By Kami Moyer

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