[Taxacom] In defense of DOIs

Frederick W. Schueler bckcdb at istar.ca
Mon Feb 15 17:01:57 CST 2010

Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> I don't deny that DOIs are "useful", and indeed I use them on Wikispecies whenever possible, though to me they are useful primarily as links to publications, rather than as identifiers per se. The question though is whether they are useful ENOUGH to justify the huge expense? On that I (and notable others, as you know from the off-list discussion) am not so sure. Is it worthwhile for a publisher to do DOIs at the expense of taxonomic output? If Zootaxa could only publish say half of its current output with the added workload created by DOIs, would this be worthwhile? I would have more confidence in  DOIs as permanent links if they were independent of publishers, so a DOI actually linked to a page hosted by the DOI people, rather than to the publishers pages, and this could best be done with open access articles. Why should the publishers have to pay for DOIs when bioinformatics people are the ones who want the DOIs most? Just like the issue of all these global biodiversity 
databases - they are (perhaps) nice to have, but are they worth it? Do they facilitate more taxonomy, or do they compete with more taxonomy?

* for those of us outside the loop, how much does a DOI for an article 
cost? If this is large (as I gather it is), what's the explanation for 
the cost?

          Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
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