Change of DOI and Associated URL

The Digital Object Identifier is special service introduced with aim to advance indexing, searching, publishing and distribution of publications. It is accepted by the International Organization for Standardization as ISO26324 .

DOI services and registration are provided by the International DOI Foundation (IDF) which is a not-for-profit membership organization.  IDF is governance and management body for the federation of Registration Agencies providing DOI services and registration.  Detailed information about DOI system is published on the site of IDFResources about DOI including video materials are free to download on the site of IDF so those interested to learn more about DOI can check materials and clarify their dilemmas about use and management of DOIs.

One of very important features of DOI is that it is unique and that metadata associated with it can be updated if necessary. Option to update metadata is very important since DOI once registered can be updated so it can easily accommodate all changes related to that digital object (article, issue of journal, book, conference proceedings, supplementary files etc.) that can take place in reality.

Let me describe one situation that I have had recently in work with one editorial board which may in similar form occur in the process of development of any scientific journal or publishing of any publication.  In our case, the editorial board due to changes of partner organizations, establishment of NGO that will support some journals and some technical reasons had to change servers and domains pointing to those servers. In addition, they publish their journals in three installations of the Open Journal Systems that had three domains and two DOI prefixes.  They moved those installations on new servers and they use three installations of Open Journal Systems now on two domains  (URLs) and DOIS created using two DOI prefixes.

Due to flexibility of options to manage DOI numbers in the Open Journal Systems editors can create efficient and easy to use pattern to create DOI numbers or create custom DOI for each article or other digital object they publish.

DOI options in OJS

The editorial board I work with decided that DOI number for each article of their scientific journal should be created like this:


Such a DOI number will have associated the URL that is created by the following principle:


Thus, it is easy to associate each article DOI to unique URL. That URL will point to the page with metadata of article and downloadable article. If URL change there will be change only in the part of URL “journaldomain”. The rest will remain the same.  That enables editorial board and system administrator to update easily any change of URL.

Well, that is fine. But, how to accomplish that task without programming skills?  And, we do not have funds to buy software to accomplish that.  Thus, solution will be to use free software in a way that programming skills are not needed.  Imagine that editor is expert in veterinary medicine for sheep and goats. Very important for local village population. The most probably, editor did not receive any training in PHP, SQL, JavaScript.  So, we have to manage this issue without programming skills.

We will use the following software:

phpMyAdmin that is free and usually preinstalled on server

LibreOffice – advanced office suite with spreadsheet, text writing, presentation and drawing capabilities

Geany – text editor (You can use Notepad ++ or other similar text editor)

Download LibreOffice and Geany on your computer and you are powered with powerful software without proprietary licensing limiting your work.

Firstly, we need to export table from the database in which we can find DOI numbers and after that sort out those DOIs and associate proper URLs to them. Your hosting company will give you link to phpMyAdmin. It is usually part of your cpanel. You will find it in section Databases like on image below:

phpmyadmin icon

When you click on icon phpMyAdmin it will direct you to the screen that display on the left side a list of databases. Click on proper database and phpMyAdmin will direct you to the screen with a list of tables and you will see that there is table called submission_settings like on image below.

submission settings

When you click on that table the system will prompt you with the following screen:

rows in database table

In some cases you will see that such a table consists of 2500 or more rows. You can select how many rows you will see and export data in page by page.  Image above shows that we selected 25 rows, that we are on the page one, we checked all of them. Since table submission_settings contains a lot of rows please feel free to choose that you see 250 or 500 rows. We have to click on Export that you see on the right side below the rows.  When we click on Export the system will direct us to the page that will perform export in desired format. In our case we will choose OpenDocumentSpreadsheet  format as on image below by clicking on little drop down arrow right from the format of export file.

selecting format of export

We have to click on Go button.  So far, we are only clicking, no programming skills required.  After we click on Go button we will be prompted with the screen that will offer us to open file with LibreOfficeCalc which we installed previously on our computer.

selecting LibreOfficeCalc


When you click on OK button your computer will open rows that you exported and it will look like on image below:

LibreOffice opened rows

Well, although this looks abstract please notice that we still stick with clicking. But, now some logic we have to apply, not programming skills.  We have to filter out DOI numbers we need and copy them in a separate file. Click on menu Data/More Filters, Standard Filter and you will be prompted with the following screen that will handle what to do with data in columns.  In our case we know that in Column C should be value as displayed on image below and that in Column D should be value that contains your DOI prefix that you have got from CrossRef or other authority that can provide DOI services.

DOI filter

After that you will see table with DOI numbers exported from that number of rows. You can copy those numbers in a separate spreadsheet and repeat this process until you come to the last row of submission_settings table. It can sometimes have 4500 or more rows, but if you follow this procedure and choose let say 500 rows on the first step you will finish that easily.

After you copy all those DOI numbers and put them in one column you will have all DOI numbers.  If you follow pattern that we mentioned above you will easily generate URLs and put all those URLs in second column.  You can write URLs in software Geany which we mentioned  and put them neatly one below each other. We can copy that and paste in the second column in your spreadsheet. After you finish that you can send that file to support in CrossRef and they will manage for you deposits so the proper file will be easily associated with proper URL.  So, we accomplished task only by clicking and at the end applying some logic. Well, it is needed sometimes.