ResearchGate offers to add a DOI on any file upload, if it doesn't already have one. I have in the past cited a few PhD-Theses that contain more information than potential papers, or were available before said papers made it out.

So I'm thinking assigning a DOI to a thesis that is published on the university repository can be helpful in making it more citeable.

Are there any downsides to this that I'm forgetting? Or further advantages?

  • Who manages where the DOI points, if it's ResearchGate-generated?
    – 410 gone
    Dec 7 '16 at 13:54
  • @EnergyNumbers, a non-for-profit called DataCite handles the preservation. Dec 7 '16 at 14:14
  • OK. Do DataCite manage where the DOI points?
    – 410 gone
    Dec 7 '16 at 16:54
  • if your university hosts the thesis somewhere that can have a DoI assigned, I'd tend to pick them as the long - term custodian rather than Researchgate. But I realise that this isn't always the case...
    – Flyto
    Dec 8 '16 at 1:05

From the ResearchGate website:


  • Make your research citable. DOIs provide information on where your work can be found online. They are guaranteed to never change, making them a great way to provide a reliable link to any of your research.
  • Showcase all of your research. DOIs provide the ability to find all publications associated with a single author, including research that hasn’t been published.
  • Put a date on your discovery. DOIs include the publishing date of your research, to make sure you get the credit you deserve.


Once a ResearchGate DOI has been generated, the research cannot be edited. Instead, you should remove the research completely, re-upload it with the edits and then generate a new DOI.

Also see: Should I include a DOI/website URL for a publication in dissertation bibliography?

  • A thesis will not normally be edited after it is published, so the downside is not applicable.
    – Nir
    Dec 7 '16 at 12:57
  • @Nir But given that it is published on the university repository as mentioned, neither are the upsides applicable. Dec 7 '16 at 13:36
  • @Tobias Kildetoft, not quite. The university could overhaul their repository at anytime. But by issuing a DOI, the organization commits to update the location of the document consistently, so that the document can always be located when you have the DOI. Dec 7 '16 at 13:43
  • I agree that a theses normally are not changed after being published, however not every University might issue a DOI.
    – agold
    Dec 7 '16 at 13:46
  • If I understand well, they talk about the ResearchGate online version. The DOI points to the file on ResearchGate servers, not the academic repository. In case anything changes elsewhere, you can remove the ResearchGate file (and thus the DOI) and why not, reupload it to RG and generate a new DOI. This is my personal understanding.
    – Myoch
    Sep 19 '17 at 14:13

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