DOI Persistence

DOIs are persistent identifiers (PIDs), which means that they are intended to be a permanent means of identifying and accessing a particular research output or resource. DOIs cannot be deleted.

DOIs and the Handle System

The DOI Foundation governs the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system. The DOI System offers DOI identifier / resolution services through the Handle System, which meets the functional requirements defined by ISO 26324.

  • The Handle System technology is used for the resolution part of the DOI System.
  • The Handle System was developed by CNRI and is currently administered and maintained by the DONA Foundation.
  • This handle infrastructure provides a reliable way of managing digital objects.

DOI Registration Agencies, including DataCite, make a commitment to work with the DOI Foundation to guarantee persistence. Read more about the Registration Agencies’ commitments.


What is a DOI
The DOI handbook
DOI Resolution Protocol Specification

Deactivate a DOI

There are three DataCite DOI states: Draft, Registered, and Findable. The state indicates whether the DOI is registered in the Global Handle System and whether the metadata is retrievable via the DataCite API. When a DataCite DOI is first published in Findable or Registered state, it is automatically registered in the external Handle System and cannot be deleted.


DOIs cannot be deleted

In both Findable and Registered states, a DOI cannot be deleted.

It is also important to note that the DOI name—the alphanumeric string that is the prefix and suffix—cannot be changed or edited.


Suffixes cannot be changed

This is why we highly recommend avoiding the use of meaning in the suffix, as this cannot be changed if the meaning changes (e.g. acronyms).

What if a DOI is created by mistake or the content is retracted?

If a DOI is registered in error, or the content that the DOI points to is deleted or retracted, then DataCite Repositories can follow these steps to deactivate and archive a DOI:

  • Change the state of the erroneous DOI from Findable to Registered state. This means the DOI will not be found in DataCite Commons search results or Public API queries. Registered DOIs will continue to resolve.
    Learn more about DOI states.
  • Update the URL of the erroneous DOI to a tombstone page. This can be your organization's own tombstone page or a generic one. Learn more about tombstone pages.