What If Law Journal Citations Included Digital Object Identifiers? A Snapshot of Major Law Journals
15 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2010 Last revised: 16 May 2019
Date Written: March 18, 2010
Prevailing citation practice in law journals is to use uniform resource locators (URLs) when citing electronic sources. Digital object identifiers (DOIs) provide a more reliable and robust mechanism for citing digital, scholarly articles. This study examines to what extent DOIs exist but are not used in law journal citations. Citations to scholarly articles from twenty-five randomly-selected articles appearing in the 2008-2009 volumes of four major law journals (Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and University of Pennsylvania Law Review) were checked for existing DOIs using CrossRef's Simple Text Query form. This resulted in 394 citations that could have had DOIs, but did not. This non-trivial number suggests that law journal editors and librarians should consider adding DOIs to citations. For journals that publish exclusively online or are interdisciplinary, assigning DOIs to their own articles may be a prudent measure to better ensure long-term digital access and citation by scholars in other fields.
Keywords: digital object identifier, link rot, legal citation, law journals
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