DataCite DOIs: For More Than Just Data

At DataCite, we enable DOI registration for a wide variety of research outputs: from samples and images to data and preprints. In this post, we’ll spotlight the resource types that our community is using DataCite DOIs for.

The DataCite Metadata Schema has always supported a range of resource types. The “resourceType” property has a required attribute, “resourceTypeGeneral”, which uses a controlled list to ensure consistent terminology across metadata records. In addition to the required “resourceTypeGeneral” attribute, repositories can also add further detail or specificity by including free text for the “resourceType” property.

In 2011, Version 2.0 of the metadata schema included eleven options for specifying the resource type (resourceTypeGeneral). Since then, DataCite and the DataCite Metadata Working Group have updated this list in response to community feedback and the needs of DataCite Members. As Version 4.4, the schema includes 28 options for the resourceTypeGeneral attribute:




Our Members and Consortium Organizations have made use of all 28 of these resource types. Looking at DOIs that have been registered by our community over all time, we see that Dataset, Physical Object, Text, Image, Other, and Preprint are the top five resource types (as of October 2023):

Put another way, resource types other than Dataset make up nearly 70% of DataCite DOIs today. 

Over time, we’ve seen the distribution of resource types shift as new resource types are added and adopted by our community. This animation shows how resource type adoption has changed since 2004:

Samples (Physical Object)

DataCite Members have registered over eleven million DOIs for physical objects in 2023. The majority of these DOIs are for IGSN IDs, which are globally unique and persistent identifiers for material samples. Through the partnership between IGSN e.V. and DataCite, IGSN Allocating Agents completed their re-registration of legacy IGSN IDs within DataCite services in 2023. This means that all IGSN IDs are now functionally DOIs and can be generated, modified, and retrieved using DataCite systems and APIs. DataCite Members and Consortium Organizations can get started with registering IGSN IDs by reviewing our support documentation.

Textual Resources (Text, Preprint, etc.)

DataCite Members registered over 980 thousand DOIs with the Text resource type this year. The “Text” resource type has always been one of the most used in the Metadata Schema. In response to our community’s increasing use of DataCite DOIs for textual resources, we introduced several new resource types introduced in Schema 4.4 for text-based resources to allow for greater specificity than “Text”, including Preprint, JournalArticle, Dissertation, and Report. We encourage DataCite Members and Consortium Organizations to use these more specific resource types where applicable, and we are pleased to see the adoption of the new resource types across a range of repositories.


As we aim for DataCite DOIs to be suitable for all research outputs and resources, the resource type “Other” is available for cases in which the existing resource types do not describe the output/resource. When “Other” is selected for resourceTypeGeneral, the free text resourceType field is critical for understanding the nature of the resource. 

For this post, we looked at the 1.2 million DOIs with resourceTypeGeneral “Other” and analyzed the free text resourceType field. These were the top 15 results:

  1. DataSheet
  2. Online resource
  3. PeriodicalPart
  4. (:unav)
  5. Physical object
  6. Study
  7. Report
  8. master thesis
  9. Thesis (PhD)
  10. Conference contribution
  11. Newsprint
  12. Educational resource
  13. Text
  14. Newspaper
  15. Other

Some of these values do not have a close match within the resourceTypeGeneral controlled vocabulary terms, and may be candidates for inclusion in the term list. The DataCite team plans to do further analysis of resourceType and resourceTypeGeneral usage to inform future updates to the vocabulary.

For cases where there is a close or exact match, we encourage DataCite Members and Consortium Organizations to update the metadata for previously registered DOIs to take advantage of the latest metadata schema. For example, if a DOI was registered with resourceTypeGeneral “Other” and resourceType “Report”, this can be updated to resourceTypeGeneral “Report”. By updating DOI metadata with an accurate and specific resourceTypeGeneral value, you can help us improve metadata quality for the entire DataCite community.

Future resource types

We’re always working with our community to support new resource types. In the upcoming Metadata Schema Version 4.5, we will add two values to resourceTypeGeneral: Instrument and StudyRegistration.
Is there a resource type you would like to see added to the DataCite Metadata Schema? Please get in touch with us! You can fill out the Metadata Schema Suggestions form to share ideas with the DataCite team.