Skip to main content

FAQs: What is a DOI number for an article? How do I find it? How do I use it?


What is a DOI number for an article? How do I find it? How do I use it?

What is an article DOI, and why do I need it? 

Because online articles may change their Web address (URL) from time to time, many scholars and style guides recommend that, when possible, you use a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to identify an article, rather than the URL.

DOIs are an attempt to provide stable, long-lasting links for online articles. A DOI is unique to a specific document, and consists of a long code made up of numbers and letters.

Here is an example of a DOI: 10.1093/jaarel/XXIII.2.149


How do I find a DOI number for an article?

  • Many—but not all—publishers will assign DOI numbers to their articles. Some articles, therefore, won’t have a DOI number at all

  • Older articles in particular may not have a DOI number

  • Many publishers print the DOI number on the first page of an article, but not all

  • Some article databases provide a DOI number, but not all

  • If you can’t find the DOI for an article, you can look it up using this free service:

When I have the DOI, how do I find the article online?

  • The following free service will create a URL from your DOI Number:

  • This will allow you to find the article’s location online.

  • Keep in mind, however, that many articles may only be viewed and downloaded by WKU students and faculty using WKU Libraries access points. See our instructions for finding articles for more information. 

We're Here for You...