EGU2020-17861, updated on 12 Jun 2020
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Why do Geodetic Data need DOIs? First ideas of the GGOS DOI Working Group

Kirsten Elger1, Glenda Coetzer2, Roelf Botha2, and the GGOS DOI Working Group*
Kirsten Elger et al.
  • 1GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Library and Information Services, Potsdam, Germany (
  • 2Hartebeesthoek Facility, South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, South Africa
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

Only four years after the implementation of digital object identifiers (DOIs) for unambiguously identifying and linking to online articles, the first DOI for digital datasets was registered in 2004. Originally developed with the purpose of providing permanent access to (static) datasets described in scholarly literature (to allow reproducibility and scrutiny of research results), DOIs today are increasingly used for dynamic datasets (e.g. time series from observational networks, where new data values are added frequently given that the originally published data will not change), collections or networks. These DOIs (and other persistent identifiers) are mainly assigned for providing a citable and traceable reference to various types of sources (data, software, samples, equipment) and means of rewarding the originators and institutions.

As a result of international groups, like the Coalition for Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS) and the Enabling FAIR Data project, datasets with assigned DOIs are now fully citable in scholarly literature - many journals require the data underlying a publication to be available before accepting an article. Initial metrics for data citation are available and allow data providers to demonstrate the value of the data collected by institutes and individual scientists – which makes them even more attractive.

This is especially relevant in the framework of evaluation criteria for institutions and researchers, that usually only consider scientific output in the form of scholarly literature and citation numbers. Compared to other scientific disciplines, geodesy researchers appear to be producing less “countable scientific” output. Geodesy researchers, however, are much more involved in operational aspects and data provision than researchers in other fields might be. Geodesy data and equipment therefore require a structured and well-documented mechanism which will enable citability, scientific recognition and reward that can be provided by assigning DOI to data, data products and scientific software.

To address these challenges and to identify opportunities for improved coordination and advocacy within the geodetic community, the International Association of Geodesy’s (IAG) Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS) has established a Working Group on “Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for Geodetic Data Sets”. The GGOS DOI Working Group (with more than 20 members) officially started with a first meeting during December 2019, co-located to the AGU Fall Meeting. Beginning with an assessment of DOI minting strategies that are already implemented, the GGOS DOI Working Group is designated to establish best practices and advocate for the consistent implementation of DOIs across all IAG Services and in the greater geodetic community.

GGOS DOI Working Group:

Kirsten Elger (chair), Detlef Angermann, Mathis Bloßfeld, Yehuda Bock, Sylvain Bonvalot, Roelf Botha, Carine Bruyninx, Daniela Carrion, Glenda Coetzer, Pierre Fridez, Elmas Sinem Ince, France Morin, Carey Noll, David Phillips, Mirko Reguzzoni, Jim Riley, Nacho Romero, Christian Schwatke, Laurent Soudarin, Daniela Thaller, Navarro Vicente, Yusuke Yokota

How to cite: Elger, K., Coetzer, G., and Botha, R. and the GGOS DOI Working Group: Why do Geodetic Data need DOIs? First ideas of the GGOS DOI Working Group, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-17861,, 2020


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displays version 2 – uploaded on 05 May 2020
I have added one missing member of the DOI Working Group to figure 7
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-17861, Shuang Yi, 05 May 2020

    Do you also provide repository services? I wonder how ordinary users get a DOI for their own datasets.

displays version 1 – uploaded on 04 May 2020
  • AC1: Comment on EGU2020-17861, Kirsten Elger, 05 May 2020

    The success of digital object identifier (DOI) is overwhelming: only 20 years after the first DOI was registered, there are more than 250 million DOIs for scholarly literature, data and software, including more than 18 million registered by DataCite, the DOI registration agency for data and ‘grey’ literature. (figures  1 and 2)

    Today, DOI-referenced data are fully citable in scholarly literature and many Earth, space and environmental sciences journals are making the publication of data underlying scholarly literature publicly available via (domain) repositories (figures 3-5) and data citations in the references lists.

    The GGOS Working Group on DOIs for Geodetic Datasets has been implemented in 2019 with the aim to develop community-wide guidelines on how to assign DOIs to geodetic datasets. The group has 20 members and some observers and includes representatives of IAG Services, GGOS and institutes with or without experiences with DOIs. (figures 6-11)

    This poster summarises the first outcomes and ideas of the GGOS DOI WG and shows benefits in the framework of global developments and best practices for using DOI for datasets.