Digital object identifiers - NERC

NERC has the ability to issue digital object identifiers (DOIs) to datasets held in its environmental data centres. A DOI is a character string, a ‘digital identifier’, used to uniquely identify and provide a permanent link to a digital object, such as a dataset or journal paper. This is a result of collaboration between the NERC data centres, the British Library and DataCite.

Assigning DOIs to datasets means that data users are able to confidently cite data alongside traditional journal papers. The benefits for data producers include gaining due academic credit for their efforts to produce these valuable research outputs and the ability to further publicise their data in a way that ensures their efforts in creating it are acknowledged.

Benefits of DOIs for data users

DOIs provide a quick and easy method for citing and publishing data, thereby recognising the value of that data and the effort that has gone into its creation, capture and effective management. DOIs also allow formal publication of the dataset in data journals.

Datasets must be fully ingested into a NERC data centre before a DOI can be minted, and this process takes varying amounts of time depending on the data and scientific domain. Datasets which have already been ingested into NERC data centres may also have DOIs assigned to them, but permission will be sought from the dataset owner before the DOI is minted.

Researchers requesting a DOI should be aware that NERC have certain quality requirements for data to be assigned a DOI, and that is the responsibility of the depositor to ensure the data meets the required level of quality. Details of these requirements are provided in the guidelines for scientists with any further information required provided by NERC data centres on a case by case basis.

Contact a data centre for further information

Centre for Environmental Data Analysis


UK Solar System Data Centre

Solar terrestrial physics and chemistry


British Oceanographic Data Centre

Marine science


Environmental Information Data Centre

Terrestrial and freshwater science, hydrology and bioinformatics


National Geoscience Data Centre

Earth sciences


Polar Data Centre

Polar science


How to assign DOIs to data resources

Data citation guidelines for scientists 2021

Last updated: 9 February 2022

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