August 25, 2021
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Find identifiers in scientific articles

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The pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the DISEASE COVID-19, has made many people more interested in science. In scientific articles there are several variables that have nothing to do with the content of it. It is interesting to know what they are trying to do, in order to have a global view of the whole process of publishing in a scientific journal.

A scientific article is a work of months or even years in which something new, or new, is told that can be of use to society. Based on an article from a well-known medicine page, in this article I explain which are the variables that serve to identify it in the scientific community.

Variables in scientific articles

The human being has the mania to label and name things. In scientific articles this also manifests itself. On any page of scientific content there are several variables that serve only to have that article cataloged within a database. They serve to find it in the future by having a unique record.

We use for example this article published in In addition to the title of the article there are a number of variables that serve to classify this article such as, PMID, PMCID and DOI as can be seen in Fig.1.

Figure 1. IDs of an item in

These three variables are explained as follows:

  • PMID. When a new record is added to the PubMed database, it is assigned a unique number, the  PMID  or  PubMed Identifier. It is a unique identifier, two records cannot carry the same PMID. Use numbers, for example 23193287.
  • PMCID. The National Library of Medicine assigns a PMCID, also known as a PMC identifier, to each full-text article in  PubMed  Central. This variable includes the prefix ‘PMC’, for example, PMC3531190.
  • DOI: This is a digital object identifier, known in English as digital object identifier and abbreviated DOI and DOI. Is a URL that identifies a digital object.

The DOI system

The DOI  (digital object identifier) system is the most used indicator today to identify digital scientific articles, complete journals, parts of articles, audios, videos, images and even software. It’s a fixed web address, a URL, that doesn’t change, that maintains the original state of an article. So to speak, it’s like a timestamped snapshot of an object.

The Website  of the International DOI Foundation (IDF) is described as a non-profit membership organization that is the governing and managing body of the federation of registration agencies that provide digital object identification (DOI) and registration services, and is the registration authority for the ISO standard (ISO 26324) for the DOI system. The DOI system provides a technical and social infrastructure for the registration and use of digital identifiers, called DOIs, for use in digital networks.

An example of how it works is the article we talked about earlier. If we copy and put the URL on the page we see that really the doi is like a link shortener that redirects to another site as can be seen in Fig. 2.

artículos científicos
Figure 2. Expanded URL of a DOI

DOI does not give validity to what it contains

You have to be careful because although the DOI system may lead you to think that it gives veracity to an article, there are many retracted scientific articles as well as articles in pseudoscientific journals that have their DOI. Therefore, those articles are not true per se, because they have their DOI. Someone uploaded them to a website, paying a fee to do so. Therefore, they can be false articles or with incomplete data, fake news, which contaminate rigorous science and do not follow the scientific method.

An example of what I am talking about is this article  entitled “Overview of Treatment Guidelines and Clinical Practical Guidelines That Recommend the Useof Acupuncture: A Bibliometric Analysis“, inwhich, bibliography is used to deduce that acupuncture is a good clinical practice in many diseases. As you can see it has its own DOI,

I have not read the full article, being paid and not inspired special confidence its title. I am not saying that it is not true although I rather doubt its conclusions. These articles are usually made by people who have an extensive resume of supporting what they state in it. They want to give more validity to what they themselves have given validity in the past. It’s not going to be something new under any circumstances.

In addition, they are published in magazines or websites that are a kind of scientific chiringuito of articles of the same style. They give validity to scientific articles that often do not follow the scientific method and are pseudo-science. And they only serve to contaminate and intoxicate those who read them with their easily digestible message.


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Avelino Dominguez

??‍? Biologist ??‍? Teacher ??‍? Technologist ? Statistician ? #SEO #SocialNetwork #Web #Data ♟Chess ? Galician

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