Cleaning up duplicate DOIs

Another common metadata quality improvement that is often brought to our attention is duplicated DOIs. Sometimes this happens as a mistake with the member doing the registering, but it can also be the result of a journal being transferred from one member to another, and occasionally DOIs accidentally get registered twice.

In the specific example below, Third Iron reached out to us describing some duplicate DOIs they came across. Their message is below:


There seem to be two DOIs for each article published between volume 45 (2013) through volume 24 (1992), one with Elsevier and the other with Taylor & Francis:

The trouble is that both resolve! Can you please encourage the publisher to provide an update so there is only one DOI for each article published between vols. 45-24 (2013-1992)?


My colleague, @ifarley, responded and reached out to the publisher, who promptly responded, saying they would remedy the situation. The member mentioned using our conflict report to aid them in identifying the conflicts: We describe a conflict as what happens when two (or more) DOIs have been submitted with the same metadata.

In order to solve this problem, the publisher aliased the duplicate DOIs. In most cases, we recommend aliasing to resolve these types of conflicts. We have some great documentation about conflicts on our website here.

Isaac offered to help the publisher, if needed, to alias these DOIs, but we also have thorough instructions for how to alias conflicts on your own, which can be found here.

Originally, DOI 10.1016/j.iilr.2012.07.002 resolved to the following:


DOI 10.1080/10572317.2012.10762924 resolved here:

DOI 10.1016/j.iilr.2012.07.002 had been transferred from Elsevier to Taylor & Francis as part of a journal transfer, so Taylor & Francis now has stewardship of both DOIs. The metadata is the same for both, meaning they are now in conflict. This means that Taylor & Francis is able to resolve this conflict through aliasing.

What exactly does it mean to alias two DOIs? It means that the member decides which DOI they would like to maintain going forward. This is the primary DOI. The secondary DOI, which they no longer wish to maintain, then becomes the alias.

Once the aliasing happens, the member now only needs to maintain the metadata attached to the primary DOI. It also means that if anyone happens to come across the secondary DOI (in this case 10.1016/j.iilr.2012.07.002) and searches for it, they will be redirected to the primary DOI, and the metadata shown will be correct and up-to-date.

As you can see, when you click on either of these links

you are taken to the same page. They have been successfully aliased, and we can now be confident that the metadata will be looked after, and the content will remain active and discoverable.


To resolve duplicate DOIs from journal transfers, alias the secondary DOI to the primary one. This way, any searches for the secondary DOI redirect to the primary, ensuring up-to-date metadata. Taylor & Francis successfully aliased their duplicates, confirming accurate and active content.

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