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APA Citation Style

DOI (Digital Object Identifiers)

What is a DOI?

  • Unique alphanumeric string assigned to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet. Not all journals have a DOI, examples of citations without DOIs can be found below and in the article section of this guide.

DOIs in APA citations

  • APA requires the use of a DOI (digital object identifier) whenever it is available, regardless of whether you access an article in print or online.
    • DOIs are preferred method of citing electronic sources in APA.
  • The DOI allows a reader to link directly to an article via the publisher’s web site.
  • Publishers who provide this information usually place it prominently on the first page of the article
    • Databases like PsycInfo, Business Source Premier, etc., will also place it within the full record of each article (on the abstract page).
  • APA indicates that, in general, you do not need to include database information. However, your professor may require this information. Examples of both versions are provided below.

Article with DOI

Reference List Generic

Print or Electronic (preferred for electronic sources)

AuthorLastname, F. I. (Date). Article title.Journal Title, Vol, pages. DOI

Reference List

Print or Electronic (preferred for electronic sources)

Mellers, B. A. (2000). Choice and the relative pleasure of consequences. Psychological Bulletin, 126(6), 910-924. doi:10.1037/0033‑2909.126.6.910

What if there is no DOI available?

  • If no DOI has been assigned to an online work, provide the homepage URL of the journal, book or report publisher.
    • You will likely have to look up the name of the journal in Google to find the publisher’s home page.
  • While APA suggests that you not provide database information and instead provide the publisher’s home page URL APA also recommends that you “add as much electronic retrieval information as needed for others to locate the sources cited” (p. 187).

Article with no DOI (7.01, 3)

Reference List Generic

Print

AuthorLastname, F. I. (Date). Article title. Journal Title, Vol, pages.

Publication Homepage (Item Retrieved from Database, subscription or pay-per-view)

AuthorLastname, F. I. (Date). Article title. Journal Title, Vol, pages. Retrieved from Journal homepage

Online with database information (use only when indicated by your professor)

AuthorLastname, F. I. (Date). Article title. Journal Title, Vol, pages. Retrieved from Database name

Reference List

Print

Larson, L. (2009). E‑reading and e‑responding: New tools for the next generation of readers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53, 255‑258.

Journal Homepage (Item Retrieved from Database, subscription or pay-per-view)

Larson, L. (2009). E‑reading and e‑responding: New tools for the next generation of readers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53, 255‑258. Retrieved from http://www.reading.org/General/ Publications/ Journals/JAAL.aspx

Online with database information (use only when indicated by your professor)

Larson, L. (2009). E‑reading and e‑responding: New tools for the next generation of readers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53, 255‑258. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Comments

  • While the second example (ONLINE with publisher’s URL) is APA’s preferred style, the article was not “retrieved” there, nor is it possible to retrieve it there without paying a fee or having a subscription.
  • The full-text article was retrieved from the database cited in the third example (ONLINE with database information).
If you have any concerns, please confirm with your professor which format to use.

Locating DOIs

The DOI is often located in the full database record for the article, or in the full-text view of the article itself. 

  • The first page of the full-text of an article (check top and bottom of page)
  • The 'landing page' for the article at the journal's website. The landing page will normally be the citation plus abstract for the article - with or without a link to the full-text - from the journal website. Search Google to locate the landing page.
  • DOIs often appear on the first page of the full-text of an article. Some periodical databases (e.g. Web of Science) include DOIs - when these are available - while others do not yet include DOIs even for articles for which these are available.
  • Cross Ref's DOI Look-up:

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