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Persistent Identifiers: Evaluating Solutions for Your Science Gateway

Why do you need persistent identifiers in the first place?

Following the blog post on the background of the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable), we start with referring to guidelines of working groups and GO FAIR offices. The first guideline defined by GO FAIR US of the ‘FAIRification process’ is to enable (meta)data from research products from systems like science gateways to be assigned globally unique and persistent identifiers. 

Choosing a solution to generate persistent identifiers takes time to explore. The GO FAIR Initiative suggests several services that support unique and persistent identifiers:


How can I obtain persistent identifiers for my science gateway’s research products?

Typically, we see science gateways using DOIs for persistent identifiers. There are two common options to generate DOIs for your science gateway: an API solution or a self-hosted solution.

API Solutions: Crossref and DataCite

For U.S. based science gateways, we typically see projects using Crossref or DataCite. Both services require an annual membership fee.

  • Crossref Membership Information

    • Most members pay an annual membership fee, which is tiered depending on your publishing revenue/expenses. The tiers start at US $275 and are the same for both commercial and not for profit organizations.

  • DataCite Membership Information

    • Membership fee for data centers, libraries, government agencies, research institutions, and more costs 2000€ annually. Non-profit organizations' membership fee costs 500€ annually. 

Most university libraries have accounts with either DataCite or Crossref. If your science gateway is associated with a university, we recommend contacting your university’s libraries and see if there is the option to use their existing account to generate DOIs for your science gateway community. You can also explore joining a consortium that has an account with either solution. 

Once a service solution is selected, you will need to connect to the API for the service and connect the publishing feature on your gateway into the API protocols so you can pass the research product’s metadata to the service so a DOI can be generated for each product published on your gateway. 

If your gateway services a larger international community, you might explore other DOI Registration Agencies.


Self-Hosted Solution: Handle.Net

Are you interested in maintaining the metadata from your research products on your own server? Handle.Net is a way of minting DOIs with a reduced subscription fee of $50 annually to register your prefix. The Handle.Net system is developed and operated by the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI). If you want to run a Handle Server, then all of your metadata objects are stored locally on your server but have globally resolvable, unique names (URLs). The Handle is registered globally so generated DOIs for your research products point to the metadata you have stored on your controlled server. This solution is useful if you would like to place additional access controls on data, while staying aligned with the FAIR principles.

Learn more about how you can set-up your Handle.Net server: 


Need help deciding on the right solution for your science gateway?

Contact our team and our technical experts can guide you on which solution would best support your community’s needs. You can even contract one of our expert developers to help expand your science gateway to incorporate your persistent identifier solution.

Complete our Consulting Services Request Form and a team member will be in touch to meet with you.