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Versions: (draft-levine-doi) 00 01 02 03 04 05 RFC 7669

Network Working Group                                          J. Levine
Internet-Draft                                      Taughannock Networks
Intended status: Informational                              May 28, 2015
Expires: November 29, 2015

              Assigning Digital Object Identifiers to RFCs


   The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a widely used system that
   assigns unique identifiers to digital documents that can be queried
   and managed in a consistent fashion.  We describe the way that DOIs
   are assigned to past and future RFCs.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on November 29, 2015.

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   Copyright (c) 2015 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Structure and resolution of DOIs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  DOIs for RFCs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  The process of assigning DOIs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.1.  Getting a DOI prefix  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.2.  Retroactively assigning DOIs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.3.  Assigning DOIs to new RFCs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.4.  Use of DOIs in RFCs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   5.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Appendix A.  Change Log . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     A.1.  Changes from -03 to -04 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     A.2.  Changes from -02 to -03 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     A.3.  Changes from -01 to -02 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     A.4.  Changes from -00 to -01 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6

1.  Introduction

   The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a widely used system that
   assigns unique identifiers to digital documents that can be queried
   and managed in a consistent fashion.  The structure of DOIs is
   defined by ISO 26324:2012 [ISO-DOI] and is implemented by a group of
   registration agencies coordinated by the International DOI

   Each DOI is associated with bibliographic metadata about the object,
   including one or more URIs where the object can be found.  The DOI
   system also provides many features not relevant to RFCs, such as the
   ability to update the metadata after the DOI is assigned, and for
   organizations to maintain local caches of metadata, e.g., a
   university or corporate library that tracks its copies of purchased
   documents so subsequent users don't buy them again.

   The wide use of DOIs suggests that even though RFCs can be downloaded
   directly from the IETF for free, organizations that use DOIs can have
   trouble locating documents that don't have DOIs.  DOIs with metadata
   that points to the existing free online RFCs would make RFCs easier
   to find and use.  Some scholarly publishers accept DOIs as references
   in published documents, and some versions of bibtex can automatically
   retrieve the bibliographic data for a DOI and format it.  Hence DOIs
   would make RFCs easier to cite.

   The benefits of DOIs apply equally to documents from all of the RFC
   submission streams, so all RFCs are assigned DOIs.

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2.  Structure and resolution of DOIs

   DOIs are an application of the handle system defined by RFCs
   [RFC3650], [RFC3651], and [RFC3652].  A DOI for an RFC might be


   The first part of a DOI is the number 10, which means a DOI within
   the handle system, a dot, and a unique number assigned to a
   publisher, in this case 17487.  This part is the DOI prefix.
   Following that is a slash and a text string assigned by the
   publisher, called the DOI suffix.

   Since the RFC Editor's series already have numbers, it is
   straightforward to use suffixes based on the existing numbers, DOIs
   use the familiar series names and numbers, e.g., rfc1149.  (DOIs are
   case-insensitive.)  DOIs are treated as opaque identifiers, so the
   reliable way to find the DOI for an RFC is to not to guess, but to
   look it up in the RFC index.

   Although the handle system has its own protocol described in
   [RFC3652], the usual way to look up a DOI is to use web lookup.  A
   proposed "doi:" URN was never widely implemented, so the standard way
   to look up a DOI is to use the public http proxy at
   http://dx.doi.org.  The sample DOI above could be looked up at:


   Whenever a publisher assigns a DOI, it provides the bibliographic
   metadata for the object (henceforth called a document, since that is
   what they are in this context) to its registration agency which then
   makes it available to clients that look up DOIs.  The document's
   metadata is typically uploaded to the registration agency in XML
   using an HTTP based API.  Users can retrieve the metadata by fetching
   the DOI's URL and using standard HTTP content negotiation to request
   application/citeproc+json, application/rdf+xml, or other
   bibliographic formats.

   Publishers have considerable flexibility as to what resides at the
   URI(s) that a DOI refers to.  Sometimes it's the document itself,
   while for commercial publishers it's typically a page with the
   abstract and bibliographic information, and some way to buy the
   actual document.  Since some RFCs are in multiple formats (e.g.,
   Postscript and text), an appropriate URI is that of the RFC Editor's
   info page that has the document's abstract and links to the
   document(s) in various formats.  Hence the URI above when requested
   as text/html redirects to:

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   More information on the structure and use of DOIs is in the DOI
   Handbook [DOI-HB].

3.  DOIs for RFCs

   With DOIs assigned to each RFC, it is useful to include DOI
   information in the XML bibliography as a "seriesInfo" item, so that
   rendering engines can display it if desired.  Online databases and
   indexes that include RFCs should be updated to include the DOI, e.g.,
   the ACM Digital Library.  (A practical advantage of this is that the
   DOI would link directly to the RFC Editor, rather than perhaps to a
   copy of an RFC behind a paywall.)

   Since RFCs are immutable, existing RFCs still wouldn't mention their
   own DOIs within the RFC itself, but putting the DOIs into indexes
   would still provide value.

4.  The process of assigning DOIs

   There are three phases to assigning DOIs to RFCs: getting a DOI
   prefix, retroactively assigning DOIs to existing documents, and
   updating the publication process to assign DOIs as new RFCs are

4.1.  Getting a DOI prefix

   There are ten registration agencies [DOI-RA] that assign DOI
   prefixes.  Most of them serve specialized audiences or limited
   geographic areas, but there are a few that handle scholarly and
   technical materials.  The RFC Editor chose Crossref, an agency widely
   used by journal publishers.  All registration agencies charge for
   DOIs to defray the cost of maintaining the metadata databases.  The
   prices are fairly low, on the order of $660/year for membership, 15
   cents per document deposit fees for a bulk upload of the backfile
   (the existing RFCs), and $1/per document to deposit them as they are

   The RFC Editor's DOI prefix is 10.17487.

4.2.  Retroactively assigning DOIs

   Other than paying the deposit fees, assigning DOIs to all of the
   existing RFCs was primarily a software problem.  We updated the RFC
   Production Center's internal database to include a DOI field for each
   RFC, changed the schema for the XML index rfc-index.xml to include a
   DOI field, and updated the script that creates the index to include

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   the DOI for each RFC.  A specialized DOI submission script extracted
   the metadata for all of the RFCs from the XML index and submitted it
   to the registration agency using the agency's online API.

4.3.  Assigning DOIs to new RFCs

   As RFCs are published, the publication software assigns a DOI to each
   new RFC.  The submission script extracts the metadata for new RFCs
   from the XML index and submits the information for new RFCs to the
   registration agency.

4.4.  Use of DOIs in RFCs

   The DOI agency requests that documents that are assigned DOIs in turn
   include DOIs when possible when referring to other organizations'
   documents.  DOIs can be listed using the existing seriesInfo field in
   the xml2rfc reference entity, and authors are requested provide DOIs
   for non-RFC documents when possible.  The RFC production center might
   add missing DOIs when it's easy to do so, e.g., when the same
   reference with a DOI has appeared in a prior RFC, or a quick online
   search finds the DOI.  With DOIs in the xml2rfc reference databases,
   DOIs in references from citation libraries can appear in the RFCs

   The RFC Style Guide will be updated to describe the rules for
   including DOIs in the References sections of RFCs.

   Since it is usually possible to retrieve the bibliographic
   information for a document from its DOI (as bibtex can do, described
   above), it might also be worth adding this feature to xml2rfc, so a
   reference with only a DOI could be automatically fetched and

5.  Informative References

   [DOI-HB]   International DOI Foundation, "DOI Handbook", April 2012,

   [DOI-RA]   International DOI Foundation, "DOI Registration Agencies",
              July 2013,

   [ISO-DOI]  International Organization for Standardization (ISO), "ISO
              26324:2012 Information and documentation -- Digital object
              identifier system", 2012,

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   [RFC3650]  Sun, S., Lannom, L., and B. Boesch, "Handle System
              Overview", RFC 3650, November 2003.

   [RFC3651]  Sun, S., Reilly, S., and L. Lannom, "Handle System
              Namespace and Service Definition", RFC 3651, November

   [RFC3652]  Sun, S., Reilly, S., Lannom, L., and J. Petrone, "Handle
              System Protocol (ver 2.1) Specification", RFC 3652,
              November 2003.

Appendix A.  Change Log

A.1.  Changes from -03 to -04

   Make the rest of everything present tense.  Fix typos, note that RSE
   style guide will include use of DOIs.

A.2.  Changes from -02 to -03

   Make everything present tense, minor adjustments to reflect reality.

A.3.  Changes from -01 to -02

   Clarify submission process, multi-document DOIs.  Note all streams
   treated the same.  Remove unused reference.

A.4.  Changes from -00 to -01

   DOI in the xml, not necessarily in the text

   Use of DOI in RFCs section.

Author's Address

   John Levine
   Taughannock Networks
   PO Box 727
   Trumansburg, NY  14886

   Phone: +1 831 480 2300
   Email: standards@taugh.com
   URI:   http://jl.ly

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