The Meaning of DOI: What It Is and How To Use It

In college, a professor might ask you to use a DOI number of an article in your citations. This article will teach you the meaning of DOI.

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If you are accessing an article from an academic journal, you might notice a long string of text and numbers labeled “DOI.” What does this acronym mean? This article will teach you all about the various meanings of the term DOI and how to use them.

What Does DOI Mean?

According to IIRP and UIC, DOI stands for digital object identifier. This is a persistent, unique identifier for a document published online. For example, a journal article, webpage, or database record might have a DOI number for the full text. The International DOI Foundation manages the assignment of DOI numbers.

Depending on how you gain access to an article, the journal publisher might put the DOI in a different place. For example, sometimes DOI names are on the first page of an article, and sometimes they are on the providers’ website. Sometimes, if you are accessing an article via a university website, you might need a specific proxy prefix or suffix to access articles through a URL.

How to Cite a DOI Number

The correct way to cite a DOI number depends on the citation style guide you follow. This can change if you write in APA format, MLA format, and so on. Ensure that you reference the proper style guide to know if you need to include a DOI in your citation or if the title and author of the journal article will suffice.

What Are Other Meanings of DOI?

According to The Free Dictionary, DOI can stand for far more than just a “digital object identifier!” Below you will find many additional meanings of the abbreviation DOI. Depending on your field or industry, you might see any number of DOI meanings. 

Have you ever used DOI to stand for something other than “digital object identifier”?

Meanings of DOI in Technology

In the tech world, DOI has many meanings!

  • Double Opt-In (email)
  • Digital Opportunity Initiative
  • Depth of Inheritance (metric)
  • Document-Oriented Interface (computing)
  • Digital Orthorectified Imagery
  • Date of Image
  • Degree of Interference
  • Day of Install
  • Data Overrun Interrupt

Meanings of DOI in Government

If you work for the government, there is a chance you might encounter one of the below meanings for DOI:

  • Daily Operating Instruction
  • Date of Injury
  • Division of Insurance
  • Department of the Interior (US)
  • Department of Intelligence
  • Declaration of Intent (legal)
  • Daughters of Iraq (female security program; est. 2008)
  • Department of Infrastructure (Australia)
  • Digital Orthorectified Imagery
  • Date of Incorporation
  • Directorate of Instruction
  • DSSCS (Defense Special Security Communications System) Operating Instructions (US DoD)
  • Department of Institutions (Colorado)
  • Detachment Operating Instruction
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Defense Operating Instruction(s)
  • Description, Operation & Installation
  • Date of Introduction
  • Descent Orbit Insertion
  • Date of Issuance
  • Department of Investigation
  • Diffusion of Innovations
  • Division of Instruction (various locations)
  • Director of Intelligence

Meanings of DOI in Science

Science is an interesting industry with several potential definitions of DOI:

  • Degree of Interference
  • Depth of Invasion
  • Duration of Immunity (veterinary microbiology)
  • Diagramme Objet Interaction (French: Object Interaction Diagram)
  • Dry Operating Index
  • Diffusion of Innovations
  • Died Of Injuries
  • 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-Iodoamphetamine (hallucinogenic drug)
  • Distinctness of Image

Meanings of DOI in Business

People who work in business might use one of the below DOI definitions:

  • Days of Inventory
  • Date of Injury
  • Discharge of Indebtedness
  • Department Of Insurance
  • Division of Interest
  • Date of Invoice
  • Day of Install
  • Direction of Investment
  • Date of Incorporation
  • Divisional Operating Income

Meanings of DOI in Organizations

Several organizations use DOI as their title, including:

  • Daughters of Iraq (female security program; est. 2008)
  • Digital Opportunity Initiative
  • Division of Information (Australian National University)
  • Division of Instruction (various locations)

What Are Translations of DOI?

The acronym DOI stands for digital object identifier. Using translations of the words digital object identifier, you might end up with a different acronym altogether! 

If you are trying to refer to a DOI in another language, it is best to use the full form of the phrase in the translated language. 

Check out the below list of translations of “digital object identifier” from Nice Translator:

  • Icelandic: Auðkenni stafræns hlutar
  • Swedish: digital objektidentifierare
  • Portuguese (Brazil): Identificador de Objeto Digital
  • Latvian: Digitālā objekta identifikators
  • Bulgarian: цифров идентификатор на обекта
  • Serbian: Дигитални идентификатор објекта
  • Greek: Αναγνωριστικό ψηφιακού αντικειμένου
  • German: Digital Objektkennung
  • Turkish: Dijital Nesne Tanımlayıcısı
  • Thai: ตัวระบุวัตถุดิจิตอล
  • Romanian: Identificator de obiect digital
  • Croatian: Digitalni identifikator objekta
  • Basque: Objektu digitaleidentifikatzailea
  • Kannada: ಡಿಜಿಟಲ್ ಆಬ್ಜೆಕ್ಟ್ ಗುರುತಿಸುವಿಕೆ
  • Korean: 디지털 객체 식별자
  • Telugu: డిజిటల్ ఆబ్జెక్ట్ ఐడెంటిఫైయర్
  • Russian: цифровой идентификатор объекта
  • Hungarian: Digitális objektum azonosítója
  • Malayalam: ഡിജിറ്റൽ ഒബ്ജക്റ്റ് ഐഡന്റിഫയർ
  • Polish: Identyfikator obiektu cyfrowego
  • Vietnamese: Định danh đối tượng kỹ thuật số
  • French: Identifiant d’objet digital
  • Filipino: digital object identifier
  • Slovak: identifikátor digitálneho objektu
  • Hebrew: מזהה אובייקט דיגיטלי
  • Finnish: digitaalinen objektitunniste
  • Tamil: டிஜிட்டல் பொருள் அடையாளங்காட்டி
  • Slovenian: Identifikator digitalnega predmeta
  • Malay: Pengenal Objek Digital
  • Swahili: Kitambulisho cha kitu cha dijiti
  • Urdu: ڈیجیٹل آبجیکٹ شناخت کنندہ
  • Dutch: Digital Object Identifier
  • Catalan: Identificador d’objectes digitals
  • Chinese (PRC): 数字对象标识符
  • Bengali: ডিজিটাল অবজেক্ট আইডেন্টিফায়ার
  • Spanish: Identificador de Objeto Digital
  • Gujarati: ડિજિટલ ject બ્જેક્ટ ઓળખકર્તા
  • Lithuanian: Skaitmeninio objekto identifikatorius
  • Amharic: ዲጂታል ነገር መለያ
  • Japanese: デジタルオブジェクト識別子
  • Czech: identifikátor digitálních objektů
  • Ukrainian: цифровий ідентифікатор об’єктів
  • Welsh: Dynodwr Gwrthrych Digidol
  • Arabic: معرف الكائن الرقمي
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 數字對象標識符
  • Portuguese (Portugal): Identificador de Objeto Digital
  • Italian: identificatore di oggetto digitale
  • Hindi: डिजिटल ऑब्जेक्ट पहचानकर्ता
  • Norwegian: Digital objektidentifikator
  • Marathi: डिजिटल ऑब्जेक्ट अभिज्ञापक
  • Estonian: Digitaalse objekti identifikaator
  • Danish: Digital objektidentifikator
  • Indonesian: Pengidentifikasi Objek Digita


DOI stands for digital object identifier. A DOI is a way of identifying journal articles. See if you can spot a DOI today! 


  1. What is a DOI, and how do I use it in a citation? – Subject and Course Guides | the University of Illinois at Chicago 
  2. What is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)? | IIRP 
  3. DOI – What does DOI stand for? | The Free Dictionary 
  4. Digital Object Identifier | Nice Translator