OK, you have to be British to understand the pun in the title, a famous comedy skit about four candles. Back to science, and my mention of some crystal data now having a DOI in the previous post. I thought it might be fun to replicate the contents of one of my ACS slides here.
Firstly, a DOI is one implementation of a more generic (and quite old) concept known as a Handle. This is one form of a persistent digital identifier. Article DOIs have been in common use for at least ten years now, and even new chemistry students know about them!‡ A DOI points to an article in a journal? Not quite as it happens, but in fact it could be a whole lot more that a DOI could lead to! Let me explain by showing you five examples:
- doi.org/10042/26065 resolves to a landing page. Crucially, this is NOT the article itself, which may remain obstinately behind a paywall to which you have no access.
- doi.org/10042/26065?locatt=filename:input.gjf resolves to a file input.gjf that may be present off the landing page, and hence allowing a machine action to retrieve it.
- doi.org/10042/26065?locatt=mimetype:chemical/x-gaussian-input resolves to the first file matching the MIME type that may be present off the landing page, and hence allowing a machine action to retrieve it.
- doi.org/10042/26065?locatt=id:1 resolves to the first file matching ID=1 that may be present off the landing page, and hence allowing a machine action to retrieve it.
Now, items 2-5 are not generally available; they work only on our servers. We have placed them there to show how item 6 of the Amsterdam Manifesto could be made to work. There are other ways of course. But you can see them in action here (the article is open access, so you should not get any paywall behaviour from the landing page).
‡Postscript. A few days ago, I asked my group of 1st year undergraduate students how they might go about tracking down a journal article from its authors, the journal name and the page numbers. The most common reply was “Google it”. Next came “go to the library and find it on the shelves”. One replied “from its DOI” (that student had done an internship in a pharma company before joining us). I used to teach a chemical information course here between 1996 – 2010 where this sort of stuff was a staple. That course is no longer taught. Hence the aforementioned replies!
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- A comparison of left and right handed DNA double-helix models.
- A. Armstrong, R.A. Boto, P. Dingwall, J. Contreras-García, M.J. Harvey, N.J. Mason, and H.S. Rzepa, "The Houk–List transition states for organocatalytic mechanisms revisited", Chemical Science, vol. 5, pp. 2057, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C3SC53416B
- "It:lectures-2011 - ChemWiki"http://doi.org/10042/a3v06