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I was looking for the DOI of a paper (namely Evaluation of Antibacterial Activity of Asparagus racemosus Willd. Root) on http://search.crossref.org/, and found two DOIs associated to it:

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Both DOIs point to the same document (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(200003)14:2%3C118::AID-PTR493%3E3.0.CO;2-P/abstract).

How comes?

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For the specific articles you gave as an example, the first DOI has an error in the article title in its metadata. The second has the correct title.

  • The DOI 10.1002/(sici)1099-1573(200003)14:2<118::aid-ptr493>3.0.co;2-p was issued first. In the metadata for that DOI, the title is given as Evaluation of antibacterial activity ofAsparagus racemosus Willd. root (missing a space between "of" and "Asparagus").
  • The DOI 10.1002/(sici)1099-1573(200003)14:2<118::aid-ptr493>3.3.co;2-g was issued a few days later, and in the metadata, the title is corrected to Evaluation of antibacterial activity of Asparagus racemosus Willd. root.
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    @FranckDernoncourt It should be possible to change metadata, because at the very least publishers are supposed to keep the URL associated with a DOI up to date (that's kind of the point of the system...) But I can imagine it might be enough of a hassle that it would be worthwhile to get a new DOI instead. Or possibly the employee of the publisher who did this just didn't know what to do in that situation. – ff524 May 30 '16 at 15:21
  • FYI crossref.org/02publishers/20pub_fees.html charges a 2 USD fine if 2 DOIs are assigned to the same document (including the case where there is a very minor difference, either in the document or in the metadata). "A conflict exists when two or more DOIs have been assigned to the same logical work as represented by identical metadata or when subtle metadata differences may exist (e.g. a slight variation in the publication title or style differences in the item title)." – Franck Dernoncourt Jun 22 '16 at 0:39
  • That begs the question: how does crossref know 2 DOIs belong to the same object. A human comparing metadata? What if the object has multiple publishers that all want to maintain their own DOI? – jiggunjer Aug 3 '17 at 7:16

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