The TU Delft Library is co-founder of DataCite, the global organisation that registers research data. The organisation is now ascribing a unique number to all data sets from Dutch academic institutions.
“If a researcher publishes an article in Nature, the journal ensures that the article is given a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). This is a unique number that enables everyone, wherever they are in the world, to search for the article, locate it and quote it”, explains Madeleine de Smaele from the Delft Research Data Services team. “But if the same researcher also wants to make their data available via the 3TU.Datacentrum, we also give them a DOI.”
In 2010, the library decided to collaborate with four other international organisations to found DataCite. The initiative was closely linked with the foundation of the research data repository 3TU.Datacentrum. “Through DataCite, we play an important role in registering DOIs for research data. Before DataCite, that wasn’t even possible in the Netherlands”, De Smaele adds. So how does the registration work? A DOI is a series of numbers, the numbers before the slash being the prefix, while the numbers after are the suffix. “Via our DOI registration service – DataCite Netherlands – we distribute prefixes to all Dutch institutions. They add the suffixes themselves.”With 25 members, all continents are now represented in DataCite. “We’re in regular contact with each other”, says De Smaele. “In the future, we hope that each DOI of a journal article will refer to the DOI of a data set, and vice versa. That would certainly improve transparency in the academic world, alongside data usage.”