[tdwg-tag] Are DOIs expensive?

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Tue Nov 25 14:00:48 CET 2008

I think we're missing part of the point about DOIs, or at least, what  
makes them cool. It's the services underlying them (e.g., CrossRef).

If we don't want/need the services, then we can just use Handles  
(essentially for free). DOIs issued by agencies such as the German TIB  
are little more than Handles. For example, doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.548746  
can be resolved using http://dx.doi.org/, but there is no associated  
metadata in CrossRef. So, I can't do much with the identifier other  
than resolve it.

If we go the Handle/cheap DOI route we get an infrastructure to handle  
stable identifiers (PURL would be another route), but little else.  
This would be useful if, for example, we managed a resolver where  
people could report failures to resolve identifiers (I do this all the  
time for CrossRef DOIs).

Re granularity, apparently LANL has some 600 million Handles, which  
beats us (for now, at least).

Here's what I think we should aim for:

1. Identifiers that can be easily resolved, reasonably independent of  
current technology, and come with a service to report failures of  
2. Services that can take an identifier and return metadata about the  
object identified
3. Services that can return identifiers from object metadata.

If we do this, we have CrossRef for biodiversity (enabling, for  
example, citation networks between data to be constructed). Why aren't  
we aiming for this?



On 25 Nov 2008, at 11:50, 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
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> -------------------------------------------------------------
> Roger Hyam
> Roger at BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
> http://www.BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
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Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
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