Ticket of the month - March 2024 - Where's Wal-DOI? (Why is my DOI not resolving?)

Where’s Wal-DOI? (Why is my DOI not resolving?)

This version of the “ticket of the month” is based around DOIs that are not registered with us, have incorrect metadata against them or are resolving to incorrect webpages, why this is happening and how we can find out more information to help get these issues resolved. I consider this question from the perspective of the author in this thread.

Firstly we should tackle the recurring question that is….

Why is a DOI linking to this error page?

There can be a number of reasons behind this but the basic issue is that the DOI you, as an author, are trying to resolve is not yet registered with a registration agency (most likely Crossref, if you’re contacting us, but we’re not the only registration agency around).

If you get this error message you should check:

  • Have you typed the DOI in incorrectly?
  • Does the link you clicked on have the correct DOI in the link?

If you have checked that the DOI is correct then we know that the DOI on the web page link you have clicked or the DOI you have been given to resolve is not yet registered.

Next you can fill in the form on the bottom right of the page

Including the URL of the webpage that you clicked on the DOI (this should be automatically filled in if the DOI link was in a valid format when clicked from a webpage), and your email address and this will be sent over to the member in a report we send daily (if it was a Crossref members DOI) letting them know that a DOI of theirs is not yet registered. If you include your email address you will also be notified when this DOI is registered.

Why does a DOI resolve to a 404 page not found?

This is usually because the web page of the article has moved or the Crossref member has not included the correct URL against the DOI.

To resolve this the publisher or steward of the DOI would need to update the URL that is against the DOI.

We can find out the current steward of the DOI by checking it in our API by adding your email address and the DOI to the query URL below:


e.g. https://0-doi-crossref-org.libus.csd.mu.edu/search/doi?pid=support@crossref.org&format=unixsd&doi=10.18276%2F978-83-7972-662-2

This would bring up the metadata against the DOI (if registered with Crossref) including information we have included in the top crm-item section which would show you the current steward of the DOI. e.g

Further down the API response it would also tell you the URL that the DOI is resolving to.

The next steps would be to ask for the member to update the URL against the DOI so if you are in contact with the publisher then please do reach out to them to make the change. Alternatively you can contact support@crossref.org and we can reach out to them.

Why does a DOI resolve to spam or some other unhelpful URL?

You might also find in less common cases that the DOI is now resolving to a web page which is clearly not the right content, sometimes even nefarious. This is normally due to the domain where the DOIs resolved previously not being renewed and then auctioned off and picked up by other companies.

To resolve this we would have to contact the stewards of the DOIs and ask them to update the URLs against the DOIs so that they resolve to where the article page now resides. Or in some cases we would even have to update the URL to an archived version of the article using the internet archive or another archived version.