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DOIs and PubMed Central - why no links?

Ed Pentz

Ed Pentz – 2008 May 14

In PubmedDois

Further to my previous post “NIH Mandate and PMCIDs” we’ve been looking into linking to articles on publishers’ sites from PubMed Central (PMC). There are a couple of ways this happens currently (see details below) but these are complicated and will lead to broken links and more difficulty for PMC and publishers in managing the links. Crossref is going to be putting together a brieifing note for its members on this soon.

The main issue we are raising with PMC, and that we will encourage publishers to raise too, is why doesn’t PMC just automatically link DOIs? Most of the articles in PMC have DOIs so this would require very little effort from PMC and no effort from publishers and would give readers a perisistent link to the publisher’s version of an article.

Current PMC linking methods. 1) Links on Author Manuscripts in PMC are pulled in from PubMed’s LinkOut service which requires the publisher to register with PubMed and provide linking files. The DOI can be specified as the linking mechanism via LinkOut.

2) For final version of articles in PMC the journal image at the top of the page can be linked to the journal homepage or can have a “this article” link to the publisher’s site. The publisher has to sign up with PMC for specifying the header graphic and the links. https://web.archive.org/web/20080916065531/http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pmcdoc/pubsetup.doc (word doc) say “The static base (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) of the URLs for this link comes from the HTML template. PMC then dynamically completes the URL by adding an issn/vol/page. ” and then says that any item in the XML (such as the DOI) can be used.

Both of the approaches outlined above require extra work and will be difficult for smaller publishers. In addition, the links will be fragile by not being based on DOIs. Publishers can specify that DOIs can be used but it isn’t easy. We’d like to leverage the resources that publishers have already put into the DOI system but automatically making the DOIs active links - it would be very easy.

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Last Updated: 2018 March 28 by Ed Pentz