Registering IGSN IDs


Have you created an IGSN ID Repository?

An IGSN ID Repository is necessary to begin registering IGSN IDs. See our support documentation to get started.

How to register IGSN IDs

There is no functional distinction between IGSN IDs and other DOIs registered with DataCite. Thus, the same DataCite APIs used to create and modify DOIs can also be used to create and modify IGSN IDs.

We recommend using DataCite’s REST API for your institution’s IGSN ID registration processes. Please refer to the existing DataCite REST API guide to determine the most appropriate implementation for your institution and workflows. You may also review our API Reference page.

Fabrica can also be used to register and modify IGSN IDs. See Create a DOI via Form and Create a DOI via File Upload.

Only create IGSN IDs within a designated IGSN ID Repository.

Creating IGSN ID metadata in the DataCite Metadata Schema

When creating DataCite metadata for IGSN IDs, please consult the IGSN ID metadata recommendations. These best practices provide guidance concerning mandatory and recommended properties in the DataCite Metadata Schema.


For further information about the DataCite Metadata Schema, see DataCite Metadata Schema documentation.

Assigning IGSN ID DOI suffixes

Like DOIs, IGSN IDs registered with DataCite will be assigned a DOI prefix and suffix. The DOI prefix will depend on the prefix assigned to your IGSN ID Repository, and the syntax of the DOI suffix is up to your institution. In Fabrica and DataCite APIs, the system will automatically assign a random string upon creation unless a specific suffix is supplied.

The IGSN e.V. plans to develop disciplinary best practices for DOI suffixes in collaboration with a variety of samples communities as they begin to register IGSN IDs with DataCite. If you are interested in contributing to DOI suffix best practices, contact the IGSN e.V. at [email protected].

For additional information on how your institution might implement DOI suffixes for IGSN IDs, see the DOI Basics section on suffixes and our knowledge base article about characters in DOI suffixes.


Please consult the IGSN–DataCite Namespaces and Prefixes Recommendation for an overview of the history of IGSN ID namespace governance, as well as recommendations for the future of namespace governance and resolution. The recommendation was produced by the IGSN–DataCite Namespace Working Group.

Accommodating samples workflows where metadata may not be immediately available

Depending on your institution’s workflows for assigning IGSN IDs, you may find DataCite’s Draft state helpful. Please see our support documentation on DOI states.

No metadata is required for Draft state. Thus, Draft state may be appropriate for workflows where identifiers are assigned in the field or in advance of sample collection. Draft state can later be changed to Registered or Findable state when at least the six mandatory DataCite metadata properties are populated.

The DataCite Metadata Schema also provides a set of standard values that may be used when mandatory property values are not available for various reasons. Please see Appendix 3 and Table 11 of the DataCite Metadata Schema 4.4 documentation for more information about these values. Example standard values for unknown information include “:unac” for “temporarily inaccessible” and “:unav” for “value unavailable, possibly unknown.”

Displaying IGSN IDs

IGSN ID long display form

Like DOIs, the canonical form of an IGSN ID is a complete URL using the form:

Clear context should be included to indicate that it is an IGSN ID. See DataCite DOI Display Guidelines for more information about displaying IGSN IDs as links.

IGSN ID short display form

IGSN IDs are sometimes displayed in locations where a complete URL is not appropriate. In these cases, IGSN IDs should be displayed with only the DOI prefix and suffix or, if necessary, only the suffix.

  • Preferred: The DOI prefix and suffix (e.g., igsn:10.21384/AU1234)
  • Alternate: Only the suffix (e.g., igsn:AU1234)

Note that the short display form should be typically preceded by an “igsn:” tag to specify that it is an IGSN ID. However, in cases where IGSN IDs are already clearly denoted, such as in the column header of a data table, the preceding “igsn:” tag may be excluded from the short display form.

Hyperlinking IGSN IDs

Where possible, all representations of IGSN IDs should be hyperlinked with the IGSN ID’s complete DOI link.

IGSN IDs in metadata

IGSN IDs encoded in metadata should contain the IGSN ID’s complete DOI URL. This includes IGSN IDs entered in DataCite Metadata Schema properties such as relatedIdentifier.

QR codes

QR codes for IGSN IDs should contain the complete DOI URL. For example,

If a QR code is applied to a sample or its container, the label should also display the IGSN ID short display form in a human-readable way.


Display guidance may be updated in the future as best practices are refined in agreement with the publishing community.

Improving DataCite services for IGSN IDs

At this time,

  1. IGSN IDs and other DOIs registered in DataCite systems are not differentiated at the metadata or API level
  2. IGSN ID Repositories and prefixes are not differentiated from conventional DataCite Repositories and prefixes
  3. IGSN IDs that are findable in our discovery systems are not visually differentiated from other DOIs

We are eager to understand your use cases and user needs for IGSN IDs in DataCite services. These contributions will help shape the future of DataCite’s Product Roadmap for IGSN IDs.

Please submit ideas to our Product Roadmap or contribute feature suggestions using our New Feature Suggestion form. Cody Ross, Application Support Engineer ([email protected]), is also available to discuss how DataCite services might more effectively support IGSN IDs and material samples.

If you are unsure if a feature already exists or if a use case is possible, please consult our Support documentation or contact [email protected].

What’s Next