da|ra Policy (version 3.0)

As members of the DataCite consortium, the GESIS - Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS) and the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (ZBW), together with the world’s leading research libraries and technical information centers, pursue the goal of promoting and establishing uniform standards for acceptance of research data as independent, citable scientific objects. By providing DOI names the registering agent da|ra establishes the foundation for permanent identification, localization and reliable citation of social and economic research data.


This policy statement is to formally establish the requirements under which the Registration agency for social and economic data (da|ra) may assign a persistent identifier in the form of a Digital Object Identifier (DOI®). In addition this will also delineate the rights and responsibilities resulting for the DOI receiver (publication agent) and the registration agency da|ra, from the assignment. The policy also determines the requisite decision-making authority. It is directed primarily towards the publication agents.

Single researchers or temporary research groups which request a DOI name for their social or economic data may use the archiving facilities offered by GESIS (https://datorium.gesis.org/xmlui/?locale-attribute=en and http://www.gesis.org/en/services/archiving-and-registering/data-archiving).

This policy reflects the best practice recommendations of the DataCite consortium.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI®)

A DOI name is a permanent, persistent identifier used for citing and indirectly linking objects in digital networks. The DOI name is comprised of a unique alphanumeric character sequence having both a prefix and suffix. The DOI name is permanently linked to the object as an entity and allows referencing the object even if there is a change of storage location. Current, structured metadata are assigned to each object via the DOI name and this prescribed set of metadata is directly linked to the DOI reference when assigned.

da|ra obtains the DOI names via the GESIS and ZBW membership in DataCite, an international consortium accredited as an official DOI registration agency by the International DOI Foundation (IDF). As the DataCite managing agent, the TIB Hanover organizes the administration of prefixes and the connection to the IDF. Suffixes are generated by da|ra in conjunction with the publication agent and specified in the service level agreement between da|ra and the publication agent.


Allocation Agency „da|ra“

da|ra is the central administrator for assigning DOI names. It embodies the DOI allocation agency and is a non-profit organization. In addition to allocating DOI names, da|ra is also responsible for framing the service level agreement with the publication agent as well as the administration of metadata. da|ra is technically and organizationally operated by GESIS (for social sciences data) and ZBW (for economic data).

Publication agent

Institutions interested in registering their stored research data with DOI names should contact da|ra. Once the service level agreement takes effect the institution will be granted the status of publication agent.

Service level agreement (SLA)

A bilateral service level agreement (SLA) between one of the operators of da|ra (GESIS for social sciences data and ZBW for economic data) and the respective publication agent establishes the contractual basis for the issuing of DOI names through da|ra. The SLA contains special arrangements for the assignment of the DOI names for each publication agent. da|ra assigns DOI names according to these arrangements. The SLA obligates da|ra to long-term reliable operation of the technical systems of the allocation agency; the publication agent is obligated to the permanent and long-term fulfillment of the technical and logistical requirements listed below.

Requirements for DOI assignment

Publication agents requirements

Potential publication agents are organizations or units thereof that can demonstrably fulfill the requirements for digital objects, metadata and storage systems listed below. The first priority is the intention to guarantee permanent and reliable data accessibility in the sense of the concept of the persistent identifier.

Digital object requirements

Type of objects

da|ra allocates DOI names for research data and other digital objects which are created in the context of social science and economic research processes. The data remains at the local data center and data providers. da|ra decides on admissibility of the objects for allocating a DOI name according to the regulations in the SLA.

Name assignment and granularity

The publication agent receives a fixed prefix from da|ra which must be used for all their objects to be registered. The identification of an object can be executed to any desired level of granularity (element of a file, a file, a file collection, etc.) as the purpose dictates. Recommendations of the IDF (http://www.doi.org/hb.html) should be taken into consideration. The basic granularity will be adhered to when allocating a DOI name in line with the SLA.

File formats

The file format is essentially open. However, a format should be selected which ensures long-term archiving according to assessments current at the time of the registration.


An object with an assigned DOI name should not be changed. Each change must be saved as a new version and a new DOI name must be assigned. The publication agent is responsible for the versioning.

Quality assurance

The publication agent is responsible for the quality of the contents of objects. The contents should fulfill the quality standards of the publication agent and be valid according to the rules of good scientific practice in the relevant scientific discipline.

Metadata requirements

Quality of metadata

When obtaining a DOI name, metadata must be delivered according to the current da|ra metadata schema and in a predetermined format which is defined in the SLA. The da|ra metadata schema is compatible with the official DataCite Metadata Schema. The SLA controls the formalities of obtaining metadata, its transfer and updating.

Currency of metadata

The publication agent is responsible for transmitting proper and current metadata. Changes of the URL must be updated in the da|ra system within three work days and the metadata must be updated correspondingly. da|ra reserves the right to review metadata at regular intervals in order to verify that the metadata is up to date. The results will be communicated to the publication agent. In case metadata will not be updated in spite of repeated requests, da|ra reserves the right to add a public information note to the metadata.

Usage rights

The publication agent grants da|ra the non-exclusive and perpetual rights to use the metadata. The usage rights include the right to publish, disseminate, reproduce and make available to the public the transmitted metadata. The metadata are stored by da|ra in a central information system. Selected metadata are made publicly available for searching via a user interface. da|ra decides which metadata will be added to the search space. The DOI names will be displayed online via the da|ra system and offered for further processing and citation.

da|ra has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to the database entries of da|ra (Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication). The publication agent grants a right to the operators of da|ra to distribute the metadata under this license.

Requirements of persistence

Storage location

Digital objects referenced via an identifier must be permanently and constantly available, without interruption, under the registered address. Thus the publication agent is required to save the object using a reliable service that meets the state of technology. Details on guaranteeing object persistence will be jointly agreed and documented in the SLA.


The publication agent ensures that every digital object furnished with a DOI name is available via a URL and the HTTP at all times. Access restrictions are to be avoided if possible. If access to a digital object is limited (i. e. registration is required), the DOI name must redirect to a website which provides sufficient information on the contents of that object and the registration process.

Should access to a digital object with an assigned DOI name foreseeably become impossible at a certain time, the publication agent is obligated to inform da|ra about the availability immediately, but at the latest five work days before the object will not be available anymore. In case an object becomes unexpectedly unavailable, the publication agent must inform da|ra immediately.

Deleting individual objects

There may be reasons why a document with an assigned DOI name is no longer considered worth archiving and should be deleted. In such cases, the publication agent is required to report this deletion to da|ra according to the regulations in the above section “Availability.” da|ra can save the metadata related to this object despite the deletion and inform the user of the object’s deletion.

Relinquishing the storage location

If the publication agent relinquishes the storage location da|ra can only guarantee continued persistence under the following conditions:

  1. The legal successor of the organization takes over the SLA.
  2. The legal successor of the organization concludes a SLA which stipulates the assumption of all responsibilities.
  3. In the event that no successor is named, the data pool can be stored in the GESIS data archive.

Change to another allocation agency

If the publication agent changes to another allocation agency within DataCite, the prefix for registering new objects at a new allocation agency can be transferred. The metadata of objects already registered remains with da|ra and must be further maintained in accordance with the SLA agreed between the publication agent and da|ra, unless the objects are deleted (see section "Deleting individual objects").


The DOI registration is free of charge for academic institutions. It may be necessary later to pass along to the publication agent costs accrued by da|ra for registration of the DOI names. An amendment of the cost model on the part of da|ra will be announced within the timeframe stipulated in the SLA. In case of cost model amendments the publication agent has the right to terminate the SLA with immediate effect.

Rights of third parties

Registering of a DOI name in no way entails a transfer or waiver of rights to an object to da|ra except for the storage of metadata and making the metadata accessible to the public.

The publication agent warrants that the registering of a DOI name does not infringe on the rights of any third party.

In cases regarding copyright, data protection law or other third party rights, the publication agent guarantees that he holds all necessary rights concerning the objects registered by da|ra. If a third party should file a corresponding claim against one of the da|ra operators for which the publication agent can be held responsible, the publication agent will ward off all claims against GESIS and its cooperation partners. The publication agent will release GESIS and its cooperation partners from all third party claims against possible infringement of rights through the storage of information. The publication agent will also reimburse all costs arising from claims for which he is responsible, in particular the costs of legal costs. This does not apply in cases where claims are filed against GESIS and its cooperation partners for using the information in a manner violating the rights granted in this regulation and the SLA.

da|ra is obligated to identify the data provider unmistakeably as the publication agent.

Data protection statement

da|ra collects, processes and uses personal data resulting from the registration process in accordance with applicable data protection laws. This information is neither made public nor given to third parties without authorization.


da|ra Policy (pdf)