DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a unique identifier used in academic publications, datasets, software, and other scientific works. However, there are still uncertainties and misconceptions surrounding DOI. In this article, we will explore what DOI is, where to obtain it, and the differences between the two most well-known platforms, Crossref and Zenodo.

What is DOI and Why is it Important?

Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a system that allows researchers to uniquely identify their work in the digital world. DOIs enable permanent access to and citation of works, playing a crucial role in scholarly communication. DOI facilitates easy finding of reliable sources for both researchers and readers, enhancing the efficiency of literature review.

Crossref and Zenodo: Two Different Approaches

Despite being two different platforms, both Crossref and Zenodo provide unique identifiers using the DOI system ( Thus, the source of DOIs obtained from both is the same. Although the DOIs are the same, the services and features offered by these platforms may vary. Hence, it’s the service that differs, not the DOI itself.


Crossref is a consortium of academic publishers and institutions. It is the largest DOI registration agency and is commonly used by publishers. Crossref offers a paid service with different pricing policies based on membership types. The annual subscription fee ranges from $250 to $300, with a DOI fee of $1-2 per article. DOIs obtained through Crossref are managed according to international standards, ensuring their verifiability. Additionally, Crossref integrates with article publishing systems like OJS.


Zenodo is a service developed under the European OpenAIRE program and supported by CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). Zenodo offers a free service for the deposition and sharing of all types of academic works, including journal articles, books, conference papers, datasets, software, and more, with DOI assignment. DOIs obtained from Zenodo enable permanent access to works and provide wide accessibility to researchers. Furthermore, articles with DOIs from Zenodo are indexed in the European OpenAIRE. However, Zenodo currently lacks automatic integration with systems like OJS, so DOI registration is done manually.

Which Platform Should You Choose?

The choice between Crossref and Zenodo when obtaining DOIs depends on the user’s needs, capabilities, and policies. While most publishers prefer Crossref, independent researchers or small institutions may opt for Zenodo. Those with financial resources and seeking automatic integration may prefer Crossref. However, those who prefer not to pay for DOI or want their articles stored in Zenodo and indexed in OpenAIRE may choose Zenodo. It’s important to note that both platforms guarantee that DOIs have the same basic characteristics and that DOI registration can also be done through other organizations besides Zenodo and Crossref.


DOI serves as a unique identifier for scholarly works, obtainable through platforms like Crossref, Zenodo, or other organizations. While both platforms offer different services, they ultimately serve the same purpose. Users can obtain DOIs through Crossref, Zenodo, or other companies based on their needs, capabilities, and policies. What matters is having a DOI number that ensures the permanent accessibility and citability of works.

Enforcing users to a single DOI registration platform is both undemocratic and contrary to the structure of publishing.

Platforms mentioned in the article:

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What is a DOI? Understanding Digital Object Identifiers

The Advantages of Having DOIs for Journals and Articles

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