Today’s tech tip addresses advances in scholarly communication technology and co-evolving citation styles. As scholarly publishers create new, increasingly flexible methods for organizing and tracking born-digital documents, citation styles reflect these changes. Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) provide a way to uniquely tag a scholarly article (or, really, any digital object) using a string of numbers and letters (similarly to the way that ISBNs and ISSNs identify books and serials). Armed only with a DOI, a reader can track down an individual article and discover how best to access the full text of the article (most likely through his or her library’s website).
CrossRef, the official DOI link registration agency for scholarly publications, used to recommend that authors and publishers format DOIs as doi:10.NNNN/doisuffix in all documents. Now, since most readers view references to DOIs in an online environment, CrossRef recommends that authors and publishers format DOIs as URLs: http://dx.doi.org/10.NNNN/doisuffix. The new format cuts down on unnecessary cutting and pasting as internet browsers interpret these as active links.
According to the 6th edition of the APA Style manual, a writer should include the DOI of a journal article using the format doi:0.NNNN/doisuffix. Since CrossRef changed its rules last summer, the editors of the APA Style manual now accept either the URL format of the DOI or the doi:10.NNNN/doisuffix format. Here is a sample reference in both formats:
Herbst-Damm, K. L., & Kulik, J. A. (2005). Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times of terminally ill patients. Health Psychology, 24, 225-229. doi:10.1037/0278-622.214.171.124
Herbst-Damm, K. L., & Kulik, J. A. (2005). Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times of terminally ill patients. Health Psychology, 24, 225-229. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0278-6126.96.36.199
Both ways are correct but remember to always be consistent: pick one way and stick with it!