PIDs for instruments: a way forward

As a community-driven organization, we continue to focus and explore use cases with our members. The persistent identification and citation of scientific instruments is a particular use case that continues to gain momentum across community stakeholders. The capacity to uniquely identify an instrument is critical for the community to gather contextual information and interpret the related data accordingly. As such, we are interested in continuing the conversation on how we can better serve this use case.

We have been working to understand specific use cases in more detail and ensure that our services are aligned to support these. The RDA Persistent Identification for Instruments WG reached the consensus that an initial DOI for each instrument would work well. If, however, the instrument should receive a new identifier every time it is overhauled or calibrated or deployed, then a second more flexible system (using the initial DOI of the instrument as a connecting identifier) would be useful. The group released the current draft for the metadata schema (end of 2019) with two variants:

  1. An original schema based on the evaluation of use cases collected by the working group.
  2. A mapping of the original schema onto the current DataCite Metadata Schema 4.3.

Some DataCite members already use our schema to register instruments with a DOI (see Our intention is to engage with our members to receive specific guidance that can then be reviewed by the DataCite Metadata WG. Below is an example where a DOI has been registered for an “Analog-telemetered network in the Alaska Peninsula” [@]:

As we consider how we plan to move forwards, we welcome feedback from the community and support from interested stakeholders.


Matthew Buys
Matt Buys
Executive Director at DataCite | Blog posts
Robin Dasler
Product Manager at DataCite | Blog posts
Martin Fenner
Technical Director at DataCite | Blog posts