The next question is what are we doing? Simply, DataCite is by definition a registration agency of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs). DataCite assigns DOI names to datasets. This is one of our main pillars. We are also actively involved with our members to work on standard definitions. We try to activate those standards for data citation. We also have plans to establish a central metadata portal, where you will have free access to the metadata of all content that we have registered.
One of our main functionalities is to provide DOI names for datasets. We all agree that identifiers for datasets are important to make data citation possible. Let me explain with an example of citations for a dataset:
Storz, D. et al. (2009):
Planktic foraminiferal flux and faunal composition of sediment trap L1_K276 in the northeastern Atlantic.
As a supplement to the article:
Storz, David; Schulz, Hartmut; Waniek, Joanna J; Schulz-Bull, Detlef; Kucera, Michal (2009): Seasonal and interannual variability of the planktic foraminiferal flux in the vicinity of the Azores Current.
Deep-Sea Research Part I-Oceanographic Research Papers, 56 (1), 107-124,
First, we have a dataset citation. You will see that one of the good things about using DOI names is that it actually has the same look and feel as a classical journal citation, with the title and the DOI name that you can click on to access the article. It also has the data center as the affiliation. The most useful part, however, is that you can click on the DOI to directly access the data. This allows you to download the data into your system for your own analysis or visualization. If you decide to reuse the data for your own work, the fact that the data has a DOI name allows you to cite the data and give the original author credit for using those data.
If the user goes to the webpage of the article, that person then sees that there is data available for this article. In contrast to the article that may only be available to paying customers (subscribers), the access to the data is free of charge. So, if the user is interested in the article, he or she can look at the data first and then decide what to do.
That is one of the fundamentals of DataCite—we believe that the data that support the article should be freely available. In cooperation with the publishers, we have designed our system in a way that even if you do not have the right to look at the article (without paying) and you can only access the abstract and the table of contents, the link to the data is displayed and access to the data is free of charge. In a way, this is a win-win situation for the publishers because the availability of the data enhances the value of the article and promotes its use, while the publishers do not any lose revenues.