Persistent Identifiers and Discoverability


In order to track the impact of research outputs, academia has made use of persistent identifiers (PIDs). A PID is a link that is managed by an organisation, that will always lead to the research output, regardless of a domain change. Different types of content have different PIDs. We love PID, like ORCID or GRID, so much so that ‘Identifiers for everything’ is in our list of Core Beliefs!

Which PID for which output?

Because of the many different outputs that academics generate these days, there are different persistent identifiers for different outputs. This is to better manage associated metadata schemas and solve problems of duplicated content. Crossref provides DOIs for peer reviewed papers and non-peer reviewed papers (preprints). DataCite provides DOIs for non-traditional research outputs (whether your datasets are spreadsheets, media files, or even code). A less fashionable but equally important type of identifier is the Handle. In order to distinguish a publisher copy of a paper, from the institutional version, different identifiers are used. The Handle acts as a good identifier for the institutional repository copy of the paper, allowing for granular impact tracking.

Our clients use Figshare ‘off the shelf’ infrastructure for managing and disseminating various types of content including papers, datasets and theses. As such, best practice would dictate that different PIDs are used for different types of content. Whilst this is a headache for most repository systems, Figshare for Institutions is agnostic as to the type and number of PIDs associated with one organisation. Below is an example of the PIDs that can be minted at one organisation based on the type of content that is being shared.

Figshare is a DataCite node – this is advantageous for an organisation for 2 reasons.

  1.    A separate DataCite license for minting DOIs is not needed for the organisation, saving time and money (annual license costs).
  2.    Any organisation can get their own branded DOIs, identifiable as belonging to the organisation. Eg

Where the content will be found

All of the content on Figshare infrastructure is marked up based on a set of rules depending on the ‘type’ of research eg. ‘Datasets’ vs ‘Paper’ and the level of curation. Note, not all files end up indexed in these places – there are some rules that define what is marked up for where, such as the level of curation on datasets.

If you would like to index over 5 million objects in your system, you can query the open outputs at our open API –

If you would like to hear where Figshare’s off the shelf offering could help control and increase the impact and reach of your organisations research outputs please get in touch via, twitter or facebook.

Mar 19, 2019 13:24

This is a reposted article from our blog, the original article can be found at:

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