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Online Learning Guide

Verifying a DOI

A DOI can be verified as correct either by using or by adding the prefix to the DOI to do a web search.

In the example to the right, the DOI is 10.5330/PSC.n.2011-14.271.  In order to verify this DOI, you can add to the beginning, so you would be searching for

More about DOI

What is a DOI?

According to, "(a) Digital Object Identifier (DOI), is a unique string created to identify a piece of intellectual property in an online environment."  DOIs are attached to articles and papers found in databases and many other publications. 

Here is an example of a DOI for an article found on PsychArticles from EBSCO:


APA requirements for DOI citations

In general APA states the following for journal articles found online:

  • All content on the Internet is prone to being moved….A DOI is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the internet.
  • When a DOI is available, include the DOI instead of the URL in the reference.

Article From a Database

  • When referencing material obtained from an online database (such as a database in the library), provide appropriate print citation information (formatted just like a "normal" print citation would be for that type of work). This will allow people to retrieve the print version if they do not have access to the database from which you retrieved the article…. For articles that are easily located, do not provide database information. If the article is difficult to locate, then you can provide database information…
  • You can/should only give the name of the database if the document is “archived” in a proprietary database and not readily available, e.g. discontinued journals, monographs, dissertations or papers not formally published, but found in ERIC or JSTOR. Then you need only give the home page or entry page URL for the online archive.