Come in and sit down

Continuing the conversation on book chapters and DOI

Building on the work that led to ‘Do you come here often?‘ we held a (mostly virtual) event bringing together DOI providers, institutions, publishers and organisations that track the dissemination of research.

From the day, two clear themes emerged. The first was ‘How does contributing chapter level metadata benefit publishers?’. The second theme was that as most of the publishers involved in the discussion already allocate DOI’s to book chapters, they were keen to establish best practice and make the most of the effort that is already been expended. For the details, the document we worked on is here.

Making the most of what we already do?


  • There is some developing best practice, but this is not unified or shared widely, particularly regarding front/back matter and embedded content. CrossRef provide best practice for books, which covers some of the issues we discussed.
    • Next steps: To draw together the emerging best practice and share it widely
  • “Reach” and understanding of DOIs is ingrained in article publishing, but not in books.
    • Suggested next steps: Include DOI in citation, as with articles
  •  Raising visibility of DOI’s for book chapters amongst the various communities
    • Next steps:
      • Institutions to raise awareness of researchers of the value of DOI’s for book chapters
      • Availability and visibility of DOI to researchers (In terms of locating it rather than accessing it) – with articles, the DOI is often included in an email announcing publication, it is visible on the website and easy to find. This is rarely the case with book chapters.
      • Ingest DOIs for book chapters into research systems e.g. researchfish/CRIS/Repository
  • Use of language is important. For example, “metadata” is a term that researchers do not find easy or useful!
    • Next steps: Change the language we use when working with the research community e.g. by using words such as findable or discoverable, or about the benefits (See below) is a more useful advocacy tool


Why provide book chapter metadata?

It will provide:

  • A single version of truth – all versions link back to the DOI.
  • Consistency across platforms
  • Ability to share & track research – currently 5,000,000 plus bookchapters in Altmetric – only 88,620 have attention (less than 2%)
    • DOIs can help reflect chapters back to the book/publisher where the book chapter is available openly and the book isn’t. An example of this is where this chapter which forms part of this book are divorced from each other. Although the chapter is a research work in its own right, it is also an intentional part of the book, and the book forms a unique research output. Allocating a book DOI with a child chapter DOI keeps the relationship.
    • The relationship between chapter DOI and associated book DOI can also be maintained through formatting and chapter numbering – for example, where the book chapter sits within the book.
    • Systems such as Kudos and Altmetric, which increase the visibility and connectedness of research and make sharing easy for researchers, use detailed metadata. This then leads to greater interaction with the research and promotion of the output by individual researchers, research groups and institutions.

If you’d like to know more, or be involved, please do get in touch.

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