Persistent Identifiers & UBC Library Supports

A persistent identifier (PID) is a long-lasting digital reference to an object, contributor, or organization, “a code which remains constant as a means of identifying a digital object regardless of changes to its location on the internet” (National Transportation Library, 2019). An identifier is a string of characters and/or numbers associated with an information source.  Web URLs are an example of a common identifier. The term “persistent” refers to the need for an identifier to provide continued access to and provenance for the object it refers to for years to come.

PIDs are especially important in the open scholarship world as they provide standardized metadata about the objects that are not necessarily in traditional library systems (e.g. databases, catalogues), they provide consistent access, and offer the potential for networks of repositories.  Assigning a PID to your OER offers a number of advantages for access. The following are some options available to you from UBC Library.

Digital Object Identifiers

A digital object identifier (DOI) is a digital identifier of an object that can be assigned to any object, whether physical or digital. DOIs serve as “unique, permanent numbers assigned to specific objects, which remain unchanged”. DOIs are the most common type of identifier for digital objects, particularly for scholarly, research, and technical publications.  DOI consists of a publisher ID* (prefix) and an item ID (suffix), separated by a forward slash (/).  Different versions of a work will have different DOIs. Though DOIs are emerging in many fields beyond publishing, it is not clear whether they will overtake other standards.

DOIs help level the playing field between prestigious journal articles and other research outputs, artifacts and resources by:

  1. Making your research more discoverable. DOIs are widely used in scholarly publishing to cite journal articles and research data. They contain metadata that speaks to Google, ORCID, Datacite. Crossref, VIVO, DataOne and many more, making it way more visible online.
  2. Providing a persistent home. A DOI is a persistent identifier that is available and managed over time; this means it will not change if the item or object is moved or renamed.
  3. Helping you track your scholarly impact. The DOI standard (ISO 26324:2012) is the foundation of Datacite/Crossref linking service, which allows location and tracking of both cited and citing references in the scholarly record. DOIs are widely used in scholarly publishing to cite journal articles and research data.

UBC Library Supports – DOIs for OER

UBC Library is providing a free service for UBC users to obtain DOIs for digital objects. Objects deposited into UBC Library repositories:

If a faculty member wants to assign a DOI to their OER, they must first meet the UBC Library criteria for assigning DOIs. UBC Library can only mint a single DOI at a time. We currently do not support bulk DOI minting. For OER DOI support,contact Erin Fields (Vancouver campus) or Donna Langille (Okanagan campus).

Criteria for OER DOI Minting

  • At the time of the request, the creator (or equivalent role) of the OER is a current UBC faculty member, researcher, instructor, staff member, or student. 
  • The OER must be openly licensed using a Creative Commons license or equivalent.
  • At the time of submission, the OER must have the six mandatory metadata elements.
    • URI/URL
    • Title
    • Creator(s)
    • Publisher (UBC Library unless another publisher is identified)
    • Publication Year
    • Type of Resource (e.g. Software, Sound, Dataset, Text, etc)
  • A DOI can be minted for an individual resource (e.g. an open textbook) but DOIs will be not minted for individual parts and/or items within a resource (e.g. multiple videos within an open textbook).


International Standard Book Numbers are long-standing unique identifiers for serials and book editions used in publishing.

UBC Supports – ISBNs

UBC Library can issue an ISBN for the text if you are not associated with one of the departments listed.

For all other requests, fill in this form. ISSNs are issued by ISSN Canada (a department of Library and Archives Canada) and queries should be referred there.



  • Cho, Allan and Crema, Leonora. (September 28, 2020). Backgrounder: Persistent Identifiers & UBC Library Supports. UBC Library.
  • National Transportation Library. (November 6, 2019). “Persistent Identifiers.”  National Transportation Library. Retrieved from


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

UBC Open Text Publishing Guide Copyright © 2022 by Erin Fields; Amanda Grey; Donna Langille; and Clair Swanson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book