Obtaining a unique identifier for your publication: ISBNs and DOIs.

Once a publication has been produced, it may be useful to add a unique identifier, to make it easier to locate and identify. There are two different identifiers to consider, depending upon the method of distribution you envisage:

ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

There is no legal requirement for a book or monograph to have an ISBN. It is primarily to allow for more efficient marketing, dissemination and identification of outputs by universities, authors, libraries, booksellers, wholesalers and distributors. It allows others to identify the specific ‘version’ of that publication, which potentially might be ambiguous via a citation reliant upon author/title/publication date only.

It helps with cataloguing and if you wish to sell or distribute a publication through major bookselling chains or internet booksellers, you will usually be required to have an ISBN. In the UK Nielsen Books handles all applications for new ISBNS.

You will need to register your publisher details with them, and then purchase either a single or bulk purchase of ISBNs. A single ISBN currently costs £89.00 [last revised August 2019], and a block of 10 ISBNs costs £164.00.

DOI (Digital Object identifier)

A digital object identifier (DOI) is a string of characters which uniquely identifies an object. DOIs are particularly useful because they can easily be turned into DOI links.  In other words, they both identify an object and take you to it (or to an internet page which tells you how to access the object).  Any changes in location are updated in the central registry of DOIs. The LLC has a subscription to CrossRef which enables the generation of DOIs for publications, and can supply DOIs for in-house publications, produced within the University, either within Discovery, or another University data store. Requests for DOIs can be made by completing the web form.