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DOIs in APA style references

Digital object identifiers (DOIs) are unique alpha-numeric identifiers for electronic resources (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 189). According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010), when available, DOIs are the preferred approach to referencing an electronic resource because a DOI "provide(s) a persistent link to its location on the Internet" (p. 189). A recent posting on the APA Style Blog provided updated directions on how to format the DOI in a reference (Hume-Pratuch, 2014). In the past, DOIs were presented in references with "doi:" as an identifier:

Godfrey, D. (2005). Adapting historical citations to APA style. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media49(4), 544-547. doi: 10.1207/s15506878jobem4904_15

However, CrossRef, which is one of the organizations that assigns DOIs to resources, recently switched the format for DOIs to include http://dx.doi.org/ before the identifier (Hume-Pratuch, 2014, para. 4) to "insure that [the DOI] resolves into a working link" (para. 5). To reflect this shift while also allowing for a period of adjustment to the new approach, the APA is allowing either DOI format in a reference:

Godfrey, D. (2005). Adapting historical citations to APA style. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media49(4), 544-547. doi: 10.1207/s15506878jobem4904_15

Godfrey, D. (2005). Adapting historical citations to APA style. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media49(4), 544-547. http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15506878jobem4904_15

Please note that references using the URL version of a DOI should not have "retrieved from" or "doi:" before the URL. Also, the URL version of the DOI should not be hyperlinked in the reference.

For more information on DOIs, please refer to "What is a DOI and how is it used in APA style?" in WriteAnswers. If you have any questions, please contact the Writing Centre.

Theresa Bell
Writing Centre Coordinator

(Originally published in Crossroads August 1, 2014)

References

American Psychological Assocation. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: Author.

Hume-Pratch, J. (2014, July 25). How to use the new DOI format in APA Style [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2014/07/how-to-use-the-new-doi-format-in-apa-style.html  

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