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I'm an alt-ac researcher, currently working in the research department of a large national nonprofit. We regularly produce research reports and briefs that are published on the organization's website (in addition to publishing manuscripts in academic journals). I have been tasked with finding out how to make it so that our reports and briefs appear in Google Scholar searches. I have been told that getting DOIs for our publications would help with this. So, a couple of questions:

  1. Is this true?
  2. How would one go about getting DOIs for works published outside of academic journals, for free? The work we do is around youth mental health, if that helps direct me to a specific repository.

Thank you!

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2 Answers 2

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I'm from Crossref (a DOI agency). Having a DOI will likley not directly help your reports' Google Scholar rankings as Google does not use persistent identifiers. However, DOIs are used by several thousand other tools such as Web of Science, Dimensions, Scopus, and many many academic projects like PubMed, CORE, etc. etc., so discoverability in general might improve. But DOIs are more about persistence than discovery tbh i.e. making sure that your reports might still be around online even after Google may decide to close down G-Scholar. I don't think there is a repository for mental health reports specifically, but I found this preprint archive: https://osf.io/preprints/psyarxiv that might be appropriate? There is always OSF for projects and/or Zenodo too (one uses Crossref, and the other uses DataCite). Both are free.

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I am unsure about the Google Scholar questions.

For your second question, Arizona State University answers this question with on their library FAQ page:

Q. How do I create Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for my materials? Answer

For data or unpublished works (such as preprints):

You can upload your work to a repository that provides DOIs. These can include disciplinary repositories like CORE- Humanities Commons or bioRxiv, interdisciplinary options like OSF, or data-specific repositories like DRYAD. This library guide has more information about choosing an appropriate repository.

For published work:

Your publisher should provide DOIs for you upon publication. If they don't, consider self-archiving your work in a repository if your publisher allows it.

For journals:

If you are publishing a journal, you must go through a DOI Registration Agency, such as CrossRef and DataCite in the U.S. For more detailed information about DOI registration and pricing, take a look at this Frequently Asked Questions about DOI guide.

So, looks like you need to through a DOI Registration Agency.

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    I don't think OP can directly use a DOI registration agency. That is only possible for publishers.
    – toby544
    Commented Oct 15, 2023 at 9:52

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