LabArchives and “doi’s”

LabArchives is especially excited to announce the addition of  doi’s to our flagship product.

But “what is a ‘doi'”, you might ask? And what does that have to do with my laboratory data?

DOI is an acronym for “Digital Object Identifier”.  Most people are familiar with doi’s from reading journal articles, most of which include a Digital Object Identifier.  For journal articles, this is a permanent (or “persistent”) identifier that enables readers to locate the online version of an original article.   You can do so by going to sites such as http://dx.doi.org or http://crossref.org.

The doi system was created and is managed by The International doi Foundation (IDF).  It was born out of the need to establish persistent identifiers for a wide variety of digital information, including publications and data.  Unlike URL’s, which may change, or vanish, a doi is “forever”.  Only select organizations, now including LabArchives, may assign doi’s, which are managed by the IDF.

So…back to LabArchives.  One of the most powerful features of LabArchives is the ability to easily share selected data:  Within the lab, with collaborators, or with the entire world.  This function has always been available through the assignment of a URL;  now, users can assign a “DOI” to any collection of data and make it available in much the same way.

In addition, with our new doi system, a user can choose to share a data set as it exists now, or they may enable users to continue to view changes as they are made.  For example, if you publish a paper and want to make all data related to that paper available, you can assign a doi configured to make it available as of the time the paper was written.  You may then continue with your research, but viewers will not be able to see any new results (until you choose to make them available).

Why is this new feature so important?  Among other reasons, the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently mandated that all NSF funded research must include a plan to share all data after a suitable embargo period.  This can be an odious task:  Scientists must attempt to gather all files, observations, notes, etc. and find a “repository” to which they must then upload all their data.

Not so for LabArchives users;  all (or select) data in any Notebook is ready for sharing.  Simply assign a doi to those data of interest and you are done.

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