The International Generic Sample Number (IGSN ID) is a globally unique and persistent identifier for all material samples originating from any research discipline. As well as individual samples, IGSN IDs can be applied to aggregations of samples, features-of-interest (i.e., collection sites), as well as destroyed, discarded, or otherwise ephemeral samples. The ability to distinguish material samples uniquely and continuously through IGSN ID metadata is vital for:

(a) interoperability among data systems,

(b) integration of material samples with their descriptions, and

(c) enabling search and discovery. 

Following the 15-month project—IGSN 2040 Vision to Execution: Institutionalizing IGSN ID services—funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, IGSN IDs are now functionally DataCite DOIs and created in specific IGSN ID Catalog Repository accounts to enable identification. IGSN IDs can be easily registered by DataCite Members and Consortium Organizations using Fabrica, DataCite APIs, and systems that integrate DataCite DOI registration. Moreover, IGSN IDs can be searched for and accessed in DataCite Commons, API queries, and other discovery interfaces in the same way as DOIs, and the links between samples and other research outputs are included in the PID Graph.


IGSN e.V. and DataCite


IGSN e.V. implements and promotes standard methods for identifying, citing, and locating material samples with confidence. To maximize synergies, IGSN e.V. and DataCite formalized their relationship in October 2021. The partnership between DataCite and IGSN e.V. supports:

(1) long-term provision of IGSN ID registration services with integration of IGSN IDs into the DataCite technology stack; and

(2) scaling of sample community engagement while fostering the global adoption, implementation, and use of physical sample identifiers.

Additional Information


Rorie Edmunds

Rorie Edmunds

Samples Community Manager

Rorie leads the partnership between DataCite and IGSN e.V. He is responsible for driving adoption of PIDs for physical samples, advocacy activities to scale samples community engagement, and the development of sample PID practice standards. Based in Tokyo, Rorie has 10 years’ experience of coordinating international initiatives and scaling communities globally. Before joining DataCite, he was Executive Director of ISC’s World Data System, and Head of Secretariat of CoreTrustSeal. Rorie’s research background is highly multidisciplinary. His first degree is Mathematics, and he holds a Ph.D. in Structural Geology.