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Persistent Identifiers: Home

What is a Persistent Identifier or PID?

Persistent Identifiers or PIDs are increasingly important for researchers, research outputs and research institutions. These are sometimes referred to as sustainable identifiers. Even the word persistent indicates something about their longevity – they are going to last a long time or be difficult to get rid of.

A Persistent Identifier (PID) is a unique identification code, a unique ID. It’s unique, it’s original. And it is going to last a long time.

PIDs keep track of things

PIDs resolve a common problem - keeping track of things. That thing can be a:

  • publication
  • dataset
  • person
  • Even an organisation 

A PID or persistent identifier is a globally unique ID (string) that identifies a digital entity (person, place, or thing) that needs to be managed and kept available for a length of time. A PID ultimately promises to keep available or alive a resource.

But why would we have a problem keeping alive digital content? For example, a dataset, a data repository, a published research article? Why would these digital things or resources not be kept alive or maintained as they are?​ Online resources change over time and as the content changes, ordinary weblinks in papers and on websites are unreliable. A PID helps to find that content, make it more stable, permanent and reliable.

How do PIDs work?

  • PIDs, or Persistent Identifiers, are like the secret code that unlocks the world of research management. They're a clever combination of numbers and letters that make it super easy to refer to anything and everything in a unique and sustainable way.​

  • ​PIDs are gaining popularity and can be found in various places such as software, research tools, data management plans, repositories, and scientific conferences. Some popular examples include ORCiD for identifying scholars and researchers (pretty sure you already have one!), DOI for identifying articles or documents, and ROR for identifying research organizations.​

  • ​But how exactly do PIDs impact the workflow of research organizations? The image below indicates some of the interactions of PIDs between researchers, universities and external organisations that register and maintain PIDs:


Types of PIDs

Persistent identifiers are available for people, objects, projects and organisations.




What do you need to do?

As a researcher at Queen's, recommended PIDs are ORCiD and DOI. Please ensure that you have signed up to ORCiD. Also, it is recommended that any datasets you generate should be issued with a DOI by a data repository. 

Training on persistent identifiers

Let's get persistent with your research (Staff)

Thu 16 May, 2024: 17:00-18:00 BST (ONLINE)

This is a brand new course

  • This training course is aimed at academic staff, including career researchers & Post-Docs
  • This is for all those researchers who would like to develop their understanding of (i) which persistent identifiers they need to use for their research & (ii) how to go about setting up these identifiers 
  • Identifiers like DOIs are important for published outputs, including research data. The inclusion of a DOI will often be a funder or publisher requirement. But how does one go about acquiring one? How can I get a DOI for my data?
  • This class will provide information on the purpose of these identifiers and where to register for them
  • The class will also supply information on personal identifiers for researchers (ORCiD iD) and why it is imperative that you have an ORCiD iD
  • ORCiD is required for funding bids, submission of research to publishers and to help differentiate you from other researchers. This class will provide information and context about using ORCiD
  • There is also the opportunity for a one-to-one follow-up immediately after the class online to answer bespoke queries. If you wish to avail of this booking, please note it in the booking form.
  • If any staff wish to attend, please register using MS Forms.

This is a brand new course. Please book ASAP. It will be only offered once in semester 1, 2023.

Library training details here.