I decided I needed to educate myself a little when I saw Paul Lomio’s post (April 26, 2010) on Legal Research Plus: “What If Law Journal Citations Included Digital Object Identifiers? A Snapshot of Major Law Journals“. The post referenced an article by Benjamin J. Keele, abstracted (March 18, 2010) on SSRN: “What If Law Journal Citations Included Digital Object Identifiers? A Snapshot of Major Law Journals“.
The abstract began in a way which made me skeptical:
Prevailing citation practice in law journals is to use uniform resource locators (URLs) when citing electronic sources. Digital object identifiers (DOIs) provide a more reliable and robust mechanism for citing digital, scholarly articles.
The first footnote in the article to contain a DOI was footnote 6, citing Dana Neacsu, “Legal Scholarship and Digital Publishing: Has Anything Changed in the Way We Do Legal Research?,” Legal Reference Services Quarterly 21, no. 2 & 3 (March 2002): 105-122 [doi: 10.1300/J113v21n02_06]. The link is actually: http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J113v21n02_06. So I didn’t really need to have worried that there was some new alternative to URIs that I would have to learn about. This isn’t that big a deal.
At first, the link appeared to be broken, which I thought was inauspicious. A couple of tries later, though, all was well. The link resolved to:
The IP address of my office computer was recognized as being part of the York University range, so I could access the article itself. The download was prefaced:
This article was downloaded by: [Canadian Research Knowledge Network]
On: 26 April 2010
Access details: Access Details: [subscription number 783016864]
Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
The International DOI Foundation (IDF) has a website: http://www.doi.org/. The membership list is relatively small, but includes such worthies as Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, Springer SBM, Wolters Kluwer International Health & Science, the Copyright Clearance Center and the Publishers Licensing Society. The Copyright Agency Limited is an affiliate.
I’m afraid I won’t be joining. According to the membership brochure, the annual dues are $US 35,000 for general members and $US 70,000 for charter members. Even the annual fee for affiliates is $US 2,000.
If others want to have fancy dx.doi.org URIs for their publications, they can buy services from one of the Registration Agencies. The first of these was Crossref, operated by the Publishers International Linking Association, Inc. (PILA), a not-for-profit membership association. [I tried googling PILA, and all I got was crossref.org, so don't bother.] The publisher fees for 2010, if your total publishing revenue is less than $1 million, is $275. Crossref’s Publishers & Societies include
- American Association of Law Libraries
- Canadian Medical Association
- University of Toronto Press, Inc.
This is far from the only fee involved. There are “Deposit Fees,” applicable I think if the document to which the link is made is stored at Crossref. They seem to be $1.00 per deposit. Alternatively, there are annual “CMS Basic Affiliate Fees (formerly Local Hosting)” of $1,000 if your revenue is less than $1 million.
Another registrar is Bowker. Their fee structure is different. There is a one-time registration fee of $250, and you can have up to 999 DOIs for only $500 per year. Bowker’s customer list doesn’t seem to be available.
I don’t need to be sold on the persistent link idea, but I confess that this approach to the problem puzzles me. Maybe it makes some sense for a publisher who treats it like a total outsourcing solution, but it seems to me that, even then, a publisher would need to retain the capacity to switch to a competing registrar if the annual fees rose significantly. On the other hand, it isn’t at all obvious (to me, at least) how, with most of the work of having persistent links being done in-house, there could be corresponding savings that would justify a publisher in paying all these fees.
Maybe some knowledgeable person will volunteer to complete my education in this respect.