[rfc-i] DOIs and RFCs

Colin Perkins csp at csperkins.org
Wed Feb 12 01:54:28 PST 2014

On 11 Feb 2014, at 23:50, Nico Williams <nico at cryptonector.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 5:12 PM, Joe Touch <touch at isi.edu> wrote:
>> There are two identifiers for each DOI object:
>>        the DOI itself
>>        the URL the DOI redirects to
> Incidentally, there are several URIs for each RFC, one for each output format and also there are two publishers (in the sense of URI authorities), the RFC-Editor and the IETF.
>> The former is useful only when the latter varies AND the former is updated accordingly. This may be the intent of DOIs, but the older they are the more likely they’re broken more than they work in my experience.
> I see.  I'm not sure what the relevance to us is that others' DOIs
> break, unless that has led to DOIs not being widely used.  John claims
> DOIs are widely used.

The IEEE, ACM, Springer, and Elsevier assign DOIs for all the papers they publish. As far as I can tell, so do their equivalents in other research areas (e.g., Nature, and the like). DOIs are extremely widely used in the science publishing community.

> John argues that some organizations will have an easier time referring
> to our documents by DOI than by URI (just as we have an easier time
> referring to our own documents via series name and number).  Some
> evidence of that would be useful, but I can believe it.

Our university library and institutional research paper repository wants DOIs for new publications. They can be submitted without, but it’s a lot easier with a DOI. I don’t think this is unusual: DOIs are available for pretty much all new papers, and libraries are making extensive use of them. 

There is an insignificant monetary cost to assigning DOIs to RFCs, but otherwise I see no downside. None of the existing methods of referring to the RFCs will change or be removed. There will just be another mechanism available, that some of us will find extremely useful.


> John also mentions bibtex implementations that can automatically
> retrieve reference metadata via DOIs.  This does seem valuable to me.
>> The cost seems small enough that I'm happy to ignore it.
>> My concern is handing out more than one ID for a document. As the saying
>> goes, "a person with one watch always knows what time it is; a person with
>> two is never sure".
> We already have multiple URIs for our documents, and even multiple
> "IDs" (STDs, BCPs).  And URNs...
>> I don't mind if we create DOIs for RFCs, but IMO we should only give out the
>> rfc-editor URL, in which case there's little point in the overhead
>> (organizational or financial) of using DOIs at all.
> Or if we can give multiple URIs, then we should do that.
> Nico
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Colin Perkins

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