Unique Identifiers and PeerJ

Unique Identifiers are, of course, very important when dealing with the scholarly literature (which must maintain stable and persistent pointers to published content, as well as respecting the concept of the Version of Record). For this purpose, as explained below, our publications have ISSNs and we have partnered with both CrossRef and EZID.


Before even contemplating unique identifiers for our published articles, we of course needed to establish an identifier for the publications themselves, so that they could be correctly indexed in the various Abstracting and Indexing services that track scholarly publications. PeerJ has two publications – PeerJ (a journal) and PeerJ PrePrints (a preprint server) – and for both of these, the best kind of unique identifier is an ISSN (an International Standard Serial Number). ISSNs are to Journals, what ISBN are to books, and we received our ISSNs from the US ISSN Center at the Library of Congress. If anyone is interested the ISSN for PeerJ is ISSN 2167-8359, while that for PeerJ PrePrints is 2167-9843.


CrossRef is a non-profit, independent organization, which provides a number of services to the academic publishing community. Most visibly, CrossRef provides the type of Digital Object Identifier (DOI) which most publishers use to identify their published journal articles. DOIs permit persistent linking and make up an ‘industry standard’ database of academic citations. PeerJ will be using CrossRef issued DOIs for the articles published in the PeerJ journal, and if anyone is interested, our DOI prefix will be: 10.7717 (meaning that all PeerJ articles will have a unique URL starting with this number, that will resolve through the CrossRef system).


EZID is a service of the University of California Curation Center of the California Digital Library. EZID (easy-eye-dee) makes it easy to create & manage unique, long-term identifiers and initially we will be using them to provide Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for objects which appear in our PeerJ PrePrint site. DOIs, as issued by EZID, originate from DataCite which, along with CrossRef (for example) is one of the DOI Registration Agencies.

Look out for the next post in this series, in which we will explain some of the long term archiving arrangements we are making. In the meantime, we encourage anyone who is interested in experiencing the PeerJ publication process to submit their work to us now. We are fully open for submissions and expect to publish our first articles in early 2013 – submit now to be among our earliest publications.

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