[tdwg-tag] Are DOIs expensive?

"Markus Döring (GBIF)" mdoering at gbif.org
Wed Nov 26 11:24:54 CET 2008

Yes, back to the origin. But Gregors find was a surprising news, so I  
thought its worthwile following that up quickly.

On Nov 26, 2008, at 10:27, Kevin Richards wrote:

> I agree.  I feel uncomfortable entering a "commercial" situation  
> when it comes to GUIDs.
> I do feel we are getting back into the good old arguments we had  
> during the GUID workshops.
> So probably best to review the arguments, discussions, conclusions,  
> decisions, etc we have made over the last few years,  before we  
> start "jumping all over the place".
> In the end, then most important thing is that we get GUIDs in use -  
> doesnt particularly matter which specific GUID type (which is really  
> what the TDWG reccommendations allude to anyway).  So for people who  
> have good reason to use a particular GUID type (eg using HTTP urls  
> so that you can participate in the semantic web world), could very  
> well use that type of GUID.
> Kevin
> From: tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [tdwg-tag- 
> bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Roger Hyam [rogerhyam at mac.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, 26 November 2008 12:06 p.m.
> To: "Markus Döring (GBIF)"
> Cc: Technical Architecture Group mailing list
> Subject: Re: [tdwg-tag] Are DOIs expensive?
> So they will maintain a million identifiers - forever - for a single  
> one off payment of €1,000!  That is €0.001 each and they are  
> guaranteed to last forever - which is a long time.
> He actually said "some thousands" - some is an interesting sum but  
> the significant fact is that "some" is finite and "forever" is not.
> If they stop working in 10 years do we get our €1,000 back or do we  
> get actual compensation for injury caused because we have come to  
> rely on them and now we have to find some other mechanism? Do they  
> have a clause where they can come to us and ask for more money if  
> they need it? Boy they would be in a good position to do so once we  
> totally rely on them!
> Now call me an old cynic (and there are probably ESCROW agreements  
> and all that around these things to prove me totally wrong. I am  
> speaking from ignorance and in general not specifically attacking  
> DOI) but I can't help feeling uneasy.
> Parting with money now for something that you will absolutely depend  
> on in the future that involves committing to a single supplier with  
> no opt out clause does not seem like a wise course of action.
> Any service which doesn't come with the clause "you can always  
> switch to another supplier in the future" is very dangerous.
> The people who are running it now might be very nice but the people  
> who are running it in 2025 might not be quite so nice.
> Again these are are just my thoughts but I feel the need to express  
> them.
> All the best
> Roger
> p.s. I find myself scanning this email to see if it could be  
> interpreted as liable - I think this is an indication of the level  
> of unease I feel.
> On 25 Nov 2008, at 19:06, Markus Döring (GBIF) wrote:
>> well, in a second mail I've asked TIB about assigning 1 billion  
>> DOIs and they actually propose a mix of handles and DOIs because of  
>> the cost involved:
>> "Well, a billion is of course a lot.
>> There is furthermore always the cost issue. There are some costs  
>> involved when signing DOI names. We try to keep them as low as  
>> possible and sometimes are able to cover them all by ourselves, but  
>> even if we speak of half a cent, or less, it adds up when a billion  
>> identifiers are needed.
>> One way to deal with this is for example, to use a combination of  
>> DOI and handle, as they are technically the same. If you for  
>> example assign handles to a billion records with on prefix, then  
>> the one billion handles would cost you 50 Dollars annually. But as  
>> handles are not ideal for citing, as they have no quality  
>> assurance, standard and trademark as DOI names, you can change all  
>> the handles to DOI names, if you need them to be cited officially.  
>> (This technically is just a change of the prefix more or less), so  
>> we might end with a number of say 1 million actual DOI names.   
>> Which would cost you some thousand Euro. And only once, not  
>> annually. But all this needs to be discussed in detail, of course."
>> Markus
>> On Nov 25, 2008, at 17:19, Markus Döring (GBIF) wrote:
>>> I took the liberty and contacted TIB about this.
>>> It seems there is no problem using their infrastructure for large  
>>> amounts of biodiversity records. Here's the body of the reply:
>>> "The requirements for data providers are more or less the ability  
>>> to store and maintain the data and provide metadata to it.
>>> They do not need to be European institutions, but should work on a  
>>> non-commercial basis.
>>> Ideally for millions ob objects more than one prefix is advisable,  
>>> but technically one prefix can be used for an unlimited number of  
>>> DOI names.
>>> In my opinion the use of DOI names would fit very well for  
>>> biodiversity information, I am looking forward to discuss these  
>>> issues with you further."
>>> From what I have seen they assign a DOI to a whole dataset so far.
>>> But as it makes sense to cite a single specimen in biological  
>>> articles, I dont think they would mind.
>>> Markus
>>> PS:
>>> Anyone heard of Names For Life before? Seems they (plan to) use  
>>> DOIs for scientific (prokaryotic) names.
>>> http://names4life.com/
>>> On Nov 25, 2008, at 12:50, Roger Hyam wrote:
>>>> My thought is that the German TIB does not expect 'publishers' to  
>>>> have millions of digital assets. There is an issue with the  
>>>> granularity of our data compared with that of the publishing  
>>>> industry that would call for a different business model for a  
>>>> central register.
>>>> What happens if the maintenance fee is not paid? Do the  
>>>> identifiers cease to be permanent? There are many things in life  
>>>> that are permanent if you keep paying the bills our problem is  
>>>> paying the bills.
>>>> <half-joke>
>>>> As a community we could run a central register for GUIDs. I'm  
>>>> currently free next year and would set one up but some one else  
>>>> would have to find the money to pay for me (and my successors/ 
>>>> assistances) and the infrastructure .... indefinitely. The whole  
>>>> thing would have a significant set up cost and an on-going  
>>>> maintenance cost. It could be tuned to our needs and run at a  
>>>> much cheaper cost than DOIs but it would still cost real cash  
>>>> money. An endowment of say $10m (a secure income of $100k/year at  
>>>> current base rates) would secure the thing as a viable project  
>>>> provided we still got input from larger institutions on an  
>>>> ongoing basis.
>>>> </half-joke>
>>>> All the best,
>>>> Roger
>>>> On 25 Nov 2008, at 10:59, Markus Döring (GBIF) wrote:
>>>>> That is very interesting, Gregor. Apparently it is up to the  
>>>>> registration agency on how much they charge (and not the central  
>>>>> DOI). There are currently 8 agencies for different areas with  
>>>>> the German TIB issuing DOI prefixes for "registration of  
>>>>> scientific primary and secondary data" at the cost of 250€ per  
>>>>> prefix (which allows you to create as many DOIs as you like).
>>>>> http://www.doi.org/handbook_2000/registration_agencies.html#8.2
>>>>> http://www.doi.org/registration_agencies.html
>>>>> It would also be possible to setup a new registration agency for  
>>>>> biodiversity data if we feel this is more suited to our needs.  
>>>>> There are several costs associated with this though, an annual  
>>>>> membership fee ($35.000), a "franchise fee" for each newly  
>>>>> registered name ($0.04/doi) and a maintenance fee ($0.005/doi).  
>>>>> So this is clearly much more expensive and would be around 9  
>>>>> million dollars each year for 200 million occurrence records in  
>>>>> GBIF.
>>>>> http://www.doi.org/handbook_2000/registration_agencies.html#8.8
>>>>> So I guess this is what was investigated before and which is far  
>>>>> too expensive. But it should be worth consulting the TIB  
>>>>> registry, 250€ per publisher doesnt sound bad at all.
>>>>> Markus
>>>>> PS: I am expressing my personal thoughts in this conversation  
>>>>> and not GBIFs official policy.
>>>>> On Nov 25, 2008, at 6:26, Gregor Hagedorn wrote:
>>>>>> I previously concurred with arguments against DOI on the basis of
>>>>>> cost. However, is this correct?
>>>>>> http://www.tib-hannover.de/en/the-tib/doi-registration-agency/  
>>>>>> states
>>>>>> a yearly fee of 250 EUR for the publisher, not a per-object  
>>>>>> fee. That
>>>>>> is considerably less than the Total Cost of Ownership of running
>>>>>> custom-designed LSID software. DOI is well established and many  
>>>>>> people
>>>>>> already know that it can be looked up on the web ...
>>>>>> Gregor
>>>>>> -- 
>>>>>> ---------------------------------
>>>>>> Gregor Hagedorn
>>>>>> Heinrich-Seidel-Str. 2
>>>>>> 12167 Berlin
>>>>>> skype: g.hagedorn
>>>>>> This message is sent on a personal basis and does not  
>>>>>> constitute an
>>>>>> activity of the German Federal Government or its research
>>>>>> institutions. Together with any attachments, this message is  
>>>>>> intended
>>>>>> for the addressee(s) only and may not be redistributed without
>>>>>> permission.
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>>>> -------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> Roger Hyam
>>>> Roger at BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
>>>> http://www.BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
>>>> -------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
>>>> 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, UK
>>>> Tel: +44 131 552 7171 ext 3015
>>>> Fax: +44 131 248 2901
>>>> http://www.rbge.org.uk/
>>>> -------------------------------------------------------------
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