What is an IGSN ID?

An IGSN ID is a globally unique and persistent identifier for physical samples. The core purpose of the IGSN ID is to enable transparent and traceable connections between research activities and objects, including samples, collections, instruments, grants, data, publications, people, and organizations.

An IGSN ID can be applied to an individual sample, an aggregation of samples, or to a feature-of-interest (the real-world feature that the sample is taken from). An IGSN ID cannot be used for an image of a sample or for digital data.

Although the IGSN ID originates from the Geosciences, IGSN IDs can be applied to all material samples and features-of-interest. For more information about the application of IGSN IDs in your discipline or material samples workflows, please contact Rorie Edmunds, Samples Community Manager ([email protected]).


Please note that in DataCite documentation regarding IGSN IDs, the terms ā€œphysical sampleā€ and ā€œmaterial sampleā€ have the same meaning and are used interchangeably.

Overview of the IGSNā€“DataCite Partnership

In 2021, DataCite and the International Generic Sample Number (IGSN) e.V. announced a partnership to support the global adoption, implementation, and use of physical sample identifiers. For more information about the partnership, please consult these Blog posts published by DataCite:

DataCite has also made available an IGSN ID FAQ.

IGSNā€“DataCite support staff

As part of the partnership, DataCite brought on two employees to support the transition: Rorie Edmunds, Samples Community Manager ([email protected]), and Cody Ross, Application Support Engineer ([email protected]).

Rorie Edmunds ([email protected]) is the primary contact for questions about the application of physical sample identifiers, samples community outreach, and DataCite membership. Cody Ross ([email protected]) is the primary contact for questions about the technical implementation of IGSN IDs.

General questions about the IGSNā€“DataCite partnership can be directed to [email protected]. General technical support questions can be directed to DataCiteā€™s support help desk email [email protected].

IGSN e.V. and DataCite

IGSN e.V. is an international, nonprofit organization with greater than 20 members, which has operated a central registration system for IGSN IDs since 2011. Under the partnership, the IGSN e.V. facilitates a Community of Communities to promote and support new research and innovation for standard methods of identifying, citing, and locating physical samples. The partnership allows IGSN e.V. to leverage DataCite DOI registration services, and to focus community efforts on advocacy and expanding the global samples ecosystem.

DataCite is a community-led organization with a vision to connect research and identify knowledge. DataCite has been providing the means to create, find, cite, connect, and use research across 50 countries globally since 2009. Under the partnership, DataCite provides the IGSN ID registration services and supporting technology to enable the ongoing sustainability of the IGSN PID infrastructure.

Click the links below to find out more about IGSN IDs:
Using IGSN IDs
Registering IGSN IDs
IGSN ID Metadata