International Federation of Digital Seismograph Networks

Digital Object Identifiers

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are unique character strings used to identify an object such as an electronic document. Historically they have been associated with scholarly materials such as journal articles and books, but they are now being used more and more for other published works, including research datasets.

The FDSN encourages member seismic networks to assign a DOI to each network. This helps to ensure that seismic network operators under the FDSN umbrella receive full credit and citation(s) if scientists use their respective seismic network data in future published articles.

This page gives a quick introduction to the basics of network DOIs. For more information, see:

How do network DOIs work?

The network DOI should be included in all citations to the network. The FDSN provides a citation tool that will return citation text (including DOI) for any FDSN network.

An example citation looks like:

Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1986): IRIS/IDA Seismic Network. International Federation of Digital Seismograph Networks. Other/Seismic Network. doi:10.7914/SN/II

The network DOI here is doi:10.7914/SN/II.

The DOI has two main uses:

Permanent link

URLs are short-lived compared with citations. A URL from 20 years ago is unlikely to work, but a citation from 20 years ago is expected to remain usable. The DOI bridges this gap by providing a permanent, stable URL.

The mechanism for this is quite simple:

  • The DOI record includes an editable target URL which is the “real” URL for the object that the DOI represents.
  • The DOI resolution service (such as provides a HTTP redirect from any DOI value to the relevant target URL.

For example, we have a DOI doi:10.7914/SN/II whose target URL is set to

When a user visits the resolution service URL
they are redirected to the target URL

Crucially, the target URL can be updated. Suppose that a few years in the future, the FDSN website is reorganized, so now this network’s URL should actually be

All that’s required is an update to the DOI record. We set the target URL to the new URL, and now
will redirect the user instead to

By using the DOI rather than a direct URL, we can ensure that all network citations, whether from today or years ago, will always map to a working URL.

Reference tracking

The DOI also provides a unique, unambiguous search term for tracking references.

As the operator of the network above, how would you find references to your network in literature? You might search for “IRIS/IDA” since this is unlikely to return many unrelated references, but what if the network name changes? Or what if the network name is something like “Alaska Regional Experiment” containing only common words?

The DOI provides the perfect search term here. The string “doi:10.7914/SN/II” is virtually guaranteed never to appear in anything but citations to this network, making the task of finding these citations much simpler.

How do I get a DOI for my network?

Many institutions and organizations will create (or “mint”) DOIs for projects that are operated within their purview. Your institution or operating organization may in fact require this.

Alternatively, the FDSN will mint a DOI for any network that requests it. The DOI will point to a standard network page on the FDSN website, and will be kept up-to-date with the network information in the FDSN database. The FDSN provides this as a free service for the benefit of the seismological community.

Keep in mind these requirements for DOIs:

  1. They should provide access to data. Citations are meant to allow reproduction, so a DOI’s target URL should always provide a way to retrieve data.
  2. They should be permanent, or at least valid for a matter of decades. Minting a DOI entails taking long-term responsibility for maintaining a link between the DOI and a record of the network.
  3. They should be unique. A network should have only one DOI, and once a DOI has been minted it cannot be deleted.


DOIs should be treated as opaque — they don’t necessarily imply any underlying structure or organization.

That said, you may notice that the DOIs used in these examples incorporate the FDSN network code: network II will have DOI doi:10.7914/SN/II, network AU will have DOI doi:10.7914/SN/AU, and so forth. This is done because the FDSN network code is unique and permanent, and provides a useful mnemonic for identifying the correct network for a given DOI.

Because FDSN network codes are reused for temporary networks, the DOI for a temporary network includes the start year of the network, for example:
are DOIs for three different temporary networks, each of which used the XA network code but operated during a different time period.