The new DataCite Membership and Fees Model

As a membership organization, members are at the core of everything we do and it is important that we work collectively on DataCite’s strategy and long term sustainability. Over the last year, following the October 2018 board meeting, we have been working on clarifying and updating DataCite’s membership and fee model. We believe this will enable us to work with all organizations in a more consistent way, give us more insight into the organizations using our services, and allow us to continue on the path to sustainability. Last year we updated our member types and corresponding structure in DOI Fabrica. Today, our members approved a new fee structure for non-profit members at the Business Meeting of the General Assembly.

Developing the model

Over the last year, we have worked through an extensive consultation process with our members and community. This process included proposed scenarios, open hours, formal feedback through a survey, ongoing conversations, and dedicated in person and virtual meetings.

Following this, we established a community group to work with the DataCite team, review the final feedback and develop a proposal to the DataCite Board. This Member Model Advisory Group consisted of the following stakeholders, representing various organization and member types:

  • Ian Bruno (co-chair, CCDC)
  • Carly Robinson (co-chair, US Department of Energy)
  • Marco Marsella (FAO)
  • Mohamed Ba-Essa (KAUST)
  • Tom Morrell (Caltech)
  • Samantha Foulger (ETH Zurich)
  • Rachael Kotarski (British Library)

We are extremely grateful for their guidance and the time and effort they put into developing this new model.

The new model

Members pay an annual membership fee and applicable service fees based on their use of DataCite services (determined from the previous year DOI registration). This remains unchanged from our existing model. For the purposes of membership, DataCite defines an organization as a single legal entity. Fees will be applied based on this legal entity, noting that for state, national or intergovernmental organisations, the Executive Board will determine the application across campuses.

Membership fee

The membership fee will remain unchanged. Each Direct Member, Consortium Lead or Member Only will pay an annual membership fee of 2.000 €.

Service Fees

Each non-profit Direct Member or Consortium Organization that makes use of DOI registration services will pay an annual service fee. This fee consists of an Organization fee and tier based DOI registration fee:

  • Organization fee

In the existing fee structure fees are based on the number of repositories an organization works with. To simplify the model, we are moving to an organization fee. This fee includes all the repositories and prefixes needed by an organization to follow best practices.

  • DOI fee

As in the existing model, the proposed model recognizes several tiers of new DOIs registered annually. The tiers have been adjusted to accommodate different types of organizations and align with the cost impact supporting the DataCite infrastructure.


Consortia enable small organizations to be part of the DataCite community and allow DataCite to become more scalable. Consortia are administered by a Consortium Lead and consist of Consortium Organizations that participate in the consortium. To incentivize growing consortia and to make the costs for consortia more predictable, we have set fee caps at the consortium level. In addition, we have developed guidelines to explain where the consortium model is appropriate.

Consortium guidelines

A consortium is a group of like-minded organizations that have come together to collectively participate in DataCite’s community and governance activities and use DataCite’s DOI services. A consortium is composed of five or more non-profit organizations that are under different administrative structures.

  • Consortia should consist of a minimum of five organizations, including the consortium lead. New consortia are expected to reach this number in one year.
  • Consortium Organizations that expect to register more than 10.000 DOIs annually should transfer to Direct Membership within the following calendar year, or pay the additional membership fee (2.000 € annually) while remaining part of the consortium. This ensures that there is appropriate cost recovery based on the impact on cost drivers.
  • All consortia should be within one geographic region OR subject area
  • Only non-profit organizations can participate in consortia
  • Consortium Leads can distribute costs across the Consortium Organizations as per their own policies and structures

Consortium fee caps

In order to support growing consortia and the adoption within communities, the total consortium service fee (organization + DOI fee) is capped based on the number of organizations. The total cap is calculated based on the total number of organizations within the consortium:

  • 5-30 orgs: 1.000 € multiplied by total number of organizations within the consortium
  • 31-60 orgs: 700 € multiplied by total number of organizations within the consortium
  • 61-100 orgs: 600 € multiplied by total number of organizations within the consortium
  • 101+ orgs: 500 € multiplied by total number of organizations within the consortium

Next steps

Now that the new Membership and Fees model has been approved by the General Assembly, it will take effect immediately. In practice, this means that for:

  • New members – if you join after April 30, 2020, the new model will apply and you will be invoiced accordingly.
  • Existing members – the existing model applies in 2020. The new model will be applied from January 1 2021. Accordingly, your annual 2021 invoice will be based on the new model and the number of DOI registrations in 2020.

Several of our existing members will be transitioning to the consortium structure during 2020. We will be working with all of you to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible. If you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

We would like to thank our whole community for your contributions. Your input has been extremely valuable and we are grateful to have your support. We feel confident that this change ensures DataCite’s long-term sustainability and will enable us as a community to achieve our goals together.

Helena Cousijn
Community Engagement Director at DataCite | Blog posts