The DataCite Membership model: consortia, repositories, and more

As a membership organization, members are at the core of everything we do. Understanding our members and ensuring good 2-way communication is therefore extremely important. Over the last year, we have been working on clarifying and aligning DataCite’s membership model. We believe this will enable us to work with all organizations in the same way and give us more insight into the organizations using our services.

Types of Membership

Previously, we distinguished between Members, Providers, Clients, and Consortia. This often led to confusion among organizations about whether or not they are a DataCite Member. Therefore, going forward, we distinguish three clear membership categories: Member-only, Direct Member, and Consortium Member. The Member-only category remains unchanged and consists of Members that support DataCite’s data sharing mission, want to collaborate with DataCite and/or be part of DataCite’s governance. These Members do not register DOIs.

When it comes to Members that do consume DOI services, we distinguish two Member types: the Direct Member and the Consortium Member.

Direct Member

This type of Member is a single organization that joins DataCite as a Member in its own right and consumes DOI services. This single organization may have one or more repositories under their umbrella, but those repositories are under the same administrative structure as the organization. A Direct Member also takes on membership responsibilities such as participating in DataCite’s governance.

Consortium Member

A consortium is a group of like-minded organizations that have come together to collectively participate in DataCite’s community and governance activities and to use DataCite’s DOI services. A consortium is composed of two or more non-profit organizations that are under different administrative structures. Consortia are generally located in a single country or subject-based. Organizations within a consortium can work with one or more repositories that are under the same administrative structure as that organization.

The entire consortium is a Member collectively, meaning that the consortium has a single representative in DataCite’s governance structure, regardless of the number of organizations that make up the consortium. One organization will take on the role of Consortium Lead, with the others participating as Consortium Organizations.

You can find more information about the different types of membership on our membership page.


Repositories play a key role in DataCite services and are therefore a key component of the DataCite membership model. We define a repository as a service operated by research organizations, where research materials are stored, managed, and made accessible. A repository is a single unit and DataCite links the repository to information in re3data, where additional repository metadata are available.

However, we realize that not all content is hosted in repositories and therefore DataCite also includes periodicals as a designation. The term periodicals include journals, proceedings, books, blogs, and working paper series.

The repository information provided will be used and displayed throughout DataCite services including search, data usage statistics, Member DOI statistics, and third-party indexing services.

DOI Fabrica

Going forward, we’ll be making some changes to DOI Fabrica to align with the membership categories described above.


We’ll be replacing the old “Clients” terminology with “Repositories” and making a stronger connection to the repository concept by adding metadata elements from re3data to the repository settings information displayed in Fabrica. Periodicals, as their own sub-category of research material service, will be designated by a periodicals badge for easy identification.


We’ll implement the Consortium Member structure so that what Consortium Organizations can see and what they have permissions to administer in Fabrica aligns with their unique status according to the model. Implementing this properly will mean a brief transfer period (on the order of hours) for the DOIs belonging to these organizations. We’ll be reaching out to our current Consortium Members and their constituent organizations over the next few weeks to confirm their repository details and schedule their transfer periods. For existing Members that are planning on forming Consortia, we will work with you to ensure that your current Clients are successfully migrated to Consortium Organizations with Repositories in Fabrica.


We’re planning on rolling the consortium and repository changes into the test system during the last week of August, and we plan to go live in production by mid-September. In the interim, there will be a brief period when the test system will reflect the new changes while the production system will not, so what you see in the two systems will not match. During this period we’d welcome your feedback in addition to our more formal testing.

What will I see?

  • If you’re currently a Provider working with clients within your own organization, then you’ll fall into the Direct Member category and will see your current Clients as Repositories.
  • If you’re currently a Provider working with clients outside of your organization, you’ve been contacted to discuss the possibility of forming a Consortium. For now, you’ll see your Clients as Repositories.
  • If you are a Consortium Lead, you have been contacted so your current Clients can be transferred to Consortium Organization status. These transfers will take place in September.
  • If you’re currently a Client, you will see yourself as Repository but your rights remain unchanged. If you are an independent organization please contact us to discuss a transfer to Direct Member or Consortium Organization status.

Member Information

With all these changes happening, it’s critical for us that we have the correct contact information for each organization. This information is used on our Member page, to administer Fabrica, to communicate with you, and for billing purposes. Therefore, we want to encourage all our Members, both our long-time Members and those going through changes, to update your contact information in your Member settings. We’ve recently added the ability to add multiple contacts per organization, based on relevant themes of interest. Please see DataCite’s privacy policy to better understand how we use personal information. Expect reminders from us because at the end of the year we’ll be replacing our current mailing lists with the information obtained through this form!

We realize this is a lot of information and we want to support you throughout these changes in any way we can. We created an FAQ section on our support site and are happy to talk to you at any time to find the best model for your organization. Please don’t hesitate to contact at any point during this process.