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Versions: (draft-levine-doi)   00 01 02 03 04 05           Informational
Network Working Group                                          J. Levine
Internet-Draft                                      Taughannock Networks
Intended status: Informational                            August 5, 2015
Expires: February 6, 2016

              Assigning Digital Object Identifiers to RFCs


   We describe the way that Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are
   assigned to past and future RFCs.  The DOI is a widely used system
   that assigns unique identifiers to digital documents that can be
   queried and managed in a consistent fashion.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on February 6, 2016.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Structure and resolution of DOIs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  DOIs for RFCs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  The process of assigning DOIs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.1.  Getting a DOI prefix  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.2.  Retroactively assigning DOIs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.3.  Assigning DOIs to new RFCs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.4.  Use of DOIs in RFCs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   5.  Internationalization  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   6.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   Appendix A.  Change Log . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     A.1.  Changes from -04 to -05 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     A.2.  Changes from -03 to -04 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     A.3.  Changes from -02 to -03 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     A.4.  Changes from -01 to -02 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     A.5.  Changes from -00 to -01 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7

1.  Introduction

   The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system assigns unique identifiers
   to digital documents that can be queried and managed in a consistent
   fashion.  The structure of DOIs is defined by ISO 26324:2012
   [ISO-DOI] and is implemented by a group of registration agencies
   coordinated by the International DOI Foundation.

   Each DOI is associated with bibliographic metadata about the object,
   including one or more URIs where the object can be found.  The
   metadata is stored in a public database with entries retrieved via

   DOIs are widely used by publishers and consumers of technical
   journals and other technical material published online.

      ``Typical web addresses are unreliable for locating online
      resources, because they can move, change or disappear entirely.
      But persistent identifiers are fixed, with an infrastructure that
      allows for the location of the item to be updated.  The result is
      that the identifier can provide persistent access to the data.
      DataCite provides such a service, and DOIs (used by DataCite) were
      by far the identifier most commonly mentioned by interviewees,
      closely followed by Handles (on which the DOI system is built).
      There was a keen preference for DOIs from interviewees because
      this is a system already used and understood by publishers for
      traditional publications and so the barrier to uptake would
      presumably be lower than for an entirely novel system.''

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   (From [CITABILITY], page 15, citations omitted.)

   Some scholarly publishers accept DOIs as references in published
   documents, and some versions of bibtex can automatically retrieve the
   bibliographic data for a DOI and format it.  DOIs may have other
   advantages, such as making it easier to find the free online versions
   of RFCs rather than paywalled copies when following references or
   using some document indexes.

   The benefits of DOIs apply equally to documents from all of the RFC
   submission streams, so all RFCs are assigned DOIs.

2.  Structure and resolution of DOIs

   DOIs are an application of the Handle system defined by RFCs
   [RFC3650], [RFC3651], and [RFC3652].  A DOI for an RFC might be


   The first part of a DOI is the number 10, which means a DOI within
   the handle system, a dot, and a unique number assigned to a
   publisher, in this case 17487.  This part is the DOI prefix.
   Following that is a slash and a text string assigned by the
   publisher, called the DOI suffix.

   DOIs are treated as opaque identifiers.  The DOI suffixes assigned to
   RFCs are currently based on the doc-id field of the XML index rfc-
   index.xml, but those for future RFCs might be based on something else
   if circumstances change.  Hence, the reliable way to find the DOI for
   an RFC is to not to guess, but to look it up in the RFC index, or in
   the bibxml entries generated from the index.

   Although the handle system has its own protocol described in
   [RFC3652], the usual way to look up a DOI is to use web lookup.  A
   proposed "doi:" URN was never widely implemented, so the standard way
   to look up a DOI is to use the public http proxy at
   https://dx.doi.org.  The example DOI above could be looked up at:


   Whenever a publisher assigns a DOI, it provides the bibliographic
   metadata for the object (henceforth called a document, since that is
   what they are in this context) to its registration agency which then
   makes it available to clients that look up DOIs.  The document's
   metadata is typically uploaded to the registration agency in XML
   using an HTTP based API.  Users or publishing software can retrieve
   the metadata by fetching the DOI's URL and using standard HTTP

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   content negotiation to request application/citeproc+json,
   application/rdf+xml, or other bibliographic formats.

   Publishers have considerable flexibility as to what resides at the
   URI(s) that a DOI refers to.  Sometimes it's the document itself,
   while for commercial publishers it's typically a page with the
   abstract and bibliographic information, and some way to buy the
   actual document.  Since some RFCs are in multiple formats (e.g.,
   Postscript and text), an appropriate URI is that of the RFC Editor's
   info page that has the document's abstract and links to the
   document(s) in various formats.  Hence the URI above when requested
   as text/html redirects to:


   More information on the structure and use of DOIs is in the DOI
   Handbook [DOI-HB].

3.  DOIs for RFCs

   With DOIs assigned to each RFC, it is useful to include DOI
   information in the XML bibliography as a "seriesInfo" item, so that
   rendering engines can display it if desired.  Online databases and
   indexes that include RFCs should be updated to include the DOI, e.g.,
   the ACM Digital Library.  (A practical advantage of this is that the
   DOI would link directly to the RFC Editor, rather than perhaps to a
   copy of an RFC behind a paywall.)

   Since RFCs are immutable, existing RFCs still wouldn't mention their
   own DOIs within the RFC itself, but putting their DOIs into indexes
   would provide value.

4.  The process of assigning DOIs

   There are three phases to assigning DOIs to RFCs: getting a DOI
   prefix, retroactively assigning DOIs to existing documents, and
   updating the publication process to assign DOIs as new RFCs are

4.1.  Getting a DOI prefix

   There are ten registration agencies [DOI-RA] that assign DOI
   prefixes.  Most of them serve specialized audiences or limited
   geographic areas, but there are a few that handle scholarly and
   technical materials.  The RFC Editor chose Crossref, an agency widely
   used by journal publishers.  All registration agencies charge for
   DOIs to defray the cost of maintaining the metadata databases.
   Crossref publishes its price list; the prices are on the order of

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   $660/year for membership, and deposit fees of 15 cents per document
   for a bulk upload of the backfile (the existing RFCs), and $1/per
   document to deposit them as they are published.

   The RFC Editor's DOI prefix is 10.17487.

4.2.  Retroactively assigning DOIs

   Other than paying the deposit fees, assigning DOIs to all of the
   existing RFCs was primarily a software problem.  We updated the RFC
   Production Center's internal database to include a DOI field for each
   RFC, changed the schema for the XML index rfc-index.xml to include a
   DOI field, and updated the scripts that create the XML and text
   indexes to include the DOI for each RFC.  A specialized DOI
   submission script extracted the metadata for all of the RFCs from the
   XML index and submitted it to the registration agency using the
   agency's online API.

4.3.  Assigning DOIs to new RFCs

   As RFCs are published, the publication software assigns a DOI to each
   new RFC.  The submission script extracts the metadata for new RFCs
   from the XML index and submits the information for new RFCs to the
   registration agency.

4.4.  Use of DOIs in RFCs

   The DOI agency requests that documents that are assigned DOIs in turn
   include DOIs when possible when referring to other organizations'
   documents.  DOIs can be listed using the existing seriesInfo field in
   the xml2rfc reference entity, and authors are requested provide DOIs
   for non-RFC documents when possible.  The RFC production center might
   add missing DOIs when it's easy to do so, e.g., when the same
   reference with a DOI has appeared in a prior RFC, or a quick online
   search finds the DOI.  With DOIs in the xml2rfc reference databases,
   DOIs in references from citation libraries can appear in the RFCs

   The RFC Style Guide will be updated to describe the rules for
   including DOIs in the References sections of RFCs.

   Since it is usually possible to retrieve the bibliographic
   information for a document from its DOI (as bibtex can do, described
   above), it might also be worth adding this feature to xml2rfc, so a
   reference with only a DOI could be automatically fetched and

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5.  Internationalization

   Adding DOIs presents no new internationalization issues.

   Since DOIs are opaque, the characters used in any particular DOI are
   unimportant beyond ensuring that they can be represented where
   needed.  The Handle system says they are UTF-8 encoded Unicode, but
   in practice all DOIs appear to use only printable ASCII characters.
   The metadata for each RFC is uploaded as UTF-8 encoded XML.

6.  Informative References

              Kotarski, R., Reilly, S., Schrimpf, S., Smit, E., and K.
              Walshe, "Report on best practices for citability of data
              and on evolving roles in scholarly communication", 2012,

   [DOI-HB]   International DOI Foundation, "DOI Handbook", DOI
              10.1000/182, April 2012, <http://www.doi.org/hb.html>.

   [DOI-RA]   International DOI Foundation, "DOI Registration Agencies",
              July 2013,

   [ISO-DOI]  International Organization for Standardization (ISO), "ISO
              26324:2012 Information and documentation -- Digital object
              identifier system", 2012,

   [RFC3650]  Sun, S., Lannom, L., and B. Boesch, "Handle System
              Overview", RFC 3650, DOI 10.17487/RFC3650, November 2003,

   [RFC3651]  Sun, S., Reilly, S., and L. Lannom, "Handle System
              Namespace and Service Definition", RFC 3651, DOI 10.17487/
              RFC3651, November 2003,

   [RFC3652]  Sun, S., Reilly, S., Lannom, L., and J. Petrone, "Handle
              System Protocol (ver 2.1) Specification", RFC 3652, DOI
              10.17487/RFC3652, November 2003,

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Appendix A.  Change Log

   Remove this section before publication, please.

A.1.  Changes from -04 to -05

   Editorial clarifications, reorganize first part and add quote from
   [CITABILITY].  Add i18n section.

A.2.  Changes from -03 to -04

   Make the rest of everything present tense.  Fix typos, note that RSE
   style guide will include use of DOIs.

A.3.  Changes from -02 to -03

   Make everything present tense, minor adjustments to reflect reality.

A.4.  Changes from -01 to -02

   Clarify submission process, multi-document DOIs.  Note all streams
   treated the same.  Remove unused reference.

A.5.  Changes from -00 to -01

   DOI in the xml, not necessarily in the text

   Use of DOI in RFCs section.

Author's Address

   John Levine
   Taughannock Networks
   PO Box 727
   Trumansburg, NY  14886

   Phone: +1 831 480 2300
   Email: standards@taugh.com
   URI:   http://jl.ly

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