The Community

What are Registration Agencies?

Registration Agencies (RAs) provide services to people or organisations who need to identify and track the things that matter to them. Their work involves allocating DOI prefixes, registering DOI names, and providing a metadata schema associated with each DOI record.
As each RA represents a distinct industry or a community, most have developed unique services that build on top of the basic DOI registration that are useful for the communities they serve. Every RA is different but they all abide by certain commitments.


RAs commit to delivering a reliable and consistent DOI service to their users. They agree to abide by our common agreements and policies. They sign an Agreement (PDF) which:

  • grants a set of rights;
  • stipulates the obligations of the RA and the DOI Foundation;
  • makes clear the intellectual property rights; and
  • details change and termination procedures; as well as continuity considerations.
Each RA nominates someone to be a DOI Foundation Board Director. Together they are responsible for the continuing operation of the DOI Foundation and the DOI System. In practice, this means they meet regularly to learn from each, share best practices, and they think a lot about persistence. One key committment is that they all agree to take on the responsibilities of another DOI agency if it stops being an RA, ensuring contunuity and persistence of DOIs. Find out more about the current RAs.


Any organization from any sector that is willing to make long-term commitments to the persistence and sustainability of the DOI System. They can be commercial, governmental, or not-for-profit. New RAs tend to be a group of organizations within a particular sector who are collaborating to solve a common problem together - a solution to persistent identification. Often, a representative of such a community group will join as a DOI Foundation member, before making a detailed business case to apply to become an RA. Applications are considered by the Board, based on a thorough review of their case. Our experience is that the key to becoming a successful and sustainable Registration Agency is the development of additional services that add clear value on top of DOI registration for a unique new community group. For example:
An existing registry of identifiers which wishes to add DOI functionality and services to their existing registry
An existing aggregator of information which wishes to use DOIs to improve its services and add new features
A start-up which has a business model suggesting a novel DOI application. Note that in view of the importance of persistence, this is likely to require significant guarantees of continuity planning.
Please contact the DOI Foundation if you represent a community in search of a persistent identification solution.