Where am I supposed to report a broken DOI? To https://www.doi.org/, to the DOI registration agency that issued the DOI, to whoever is responsible for the website to which the DOI points to, or to somebody else?

For example, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0364-0213(90)90002-E is 404:

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  • 3
    "If you require help please Contact Customer Service" (from the screenshot).
    – Dirk
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 21:50
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    @Dirk Most websites have this mention. I would prefer not to ping them if I am supposed to report the issue to someone else. Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 21:54
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    And from my experience, the websites who put that line there actually mean it. They have this button to help you (usually). In fact that is one place where the money for the subscriptions go: To the help department. In view of the answer below, you should give this button a try.
    – Dirk
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 1:19
  • I'll second Dirk on this. The very fact that you're being redirected to the Wiley Online page is an indication that they recognize the publication/journal as being theirs (as evidenced by the fact that the journal's site url has the "03640213" component. This is almost certainly a screw-up on their end (likely an incorrect link on their webpage).
    – tonysdg
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 6:09

3 Answers 3


It's not likely that the DOI itself is broken. However, a number of things might be happening to prevent you access to the material (I'll assume it's an article) or, more commonly, human error is at play. First, make sure that there's been no change to your the proxy settings, firewall or security settings on your computer. Sometimes, these settings return a "DOI not working" error.

If you're sure that there's nothing wrong with your system (say because you're accessing a DOI for an article from the same issue of the journal), then I suggest that you inform the journal about your error. The web staff of a journal are able to respond to these reports rather quickly. They'll also be able to determine whether the result is due to a coding error or an editing error. In one case just recently, we caught an error in the DOI from being published on the manuscript. The error was due to an intern who was unfamiliar with copyediting notations on the galleys. (As I said, human error.)

I don't suggest that you report to doi.org. They'll collect information, but pass it on to the journal and may miss something material. Contacting the journal is more efficient. Finally, contacting the journal will also allow them to send you a copy of the article you wanted to access, while you wait for them to correct the issue.

PS. I remember a while back when there was a DOI "blackout". None of the DOIs for our articles would work. We were swamped with requests. Our webteam went nuts looking for the error. It turns out that this was a human error issue, but at the DNS level. I'm not a computer expert but the head of our web team explained it to us like this: "Someone forgot to renew the license for the dx.doi.org account."

Good luck!

  • Given the purpose of DOIs I actually thought they would have a more robust system set up, where the original publisher of the work moving things around should not be able to break the DOI (I mean, if this was a long time in the future and the move had happened a long time ago, there would be a risk that it could no longer be fixed). Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 8:39
  • I agree. I think the DOI system is a work in progress and there are many moving parts, some of them outside the DOI people's control. I think it's a brilliant idea myself, until the next new idea comes along, that is. :)
    – user65587
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 8:44

I want to begin by saying that in this case, I believe @Blue-FootedBoobysBlueFeet is correct in that this is Wiley's problem, not the International DOI Foundation's problem. Chiefly because the DOI is redirecting to Wiley's site - which implies that the problem likely stems from a broken/erroneous redirect on their end.

That being said, for completeness I also want to add that a truly broken DOI should return a page that looks something like this:


This would be reported to the International DOI Foundation, as it indicates something is fundamentally broken with the issuing Registration Agency.


The first thing you want to do is assess at what stage the error is occuring.

If the DOI is getting correctly resolved to a appropriate page on the journal's site, but the content of that page is missing, that indicates that the DOI itself is valid, but the publisher moved around pages without updating the DOI resolution mechanism. In that case, you need to contact the publisher, or the publisher's web team and inform them of the DOI that's not resolving properly.

If it's doi.org itself which is giving you an error message, then in all likelihood there's something wrong with the DOI resolution process itself. This could be a number of issues:

One is that the DOI just isn't valid yet. There's been issues in the past with press releases from certain journals - they have the DOI for the article, but due to administrative issues the DOI doesn't get turned on until later in the week. (In this situation, you could emailing the journal and telling them to get their act together, but it may or may not help.)

The other is that the DOI was valid in the past, but for some reason has been turned of. The whole point of DOIs is to avoid this situation, though, so this is highly unlikely.

The most likely explanation is that wherever you got the DOI from made a mistake: if there's a typo in the DOI, it won't resolve to anything. The first thing to do is go back to the place you got it from, and double check that you haven't made a typo yourself.

The other thing to do is to do it the old fashion way: search for the article by author name and title. Once you find it on the publisher's website, take a look at the DOI and see if there's an obvious typo that could have been made. (e.g. if the DOI is missing a digit). If so, don't bother to inform the destination journal - if anything it's the source of the DOI that would need to be informed.

Another approach is to search Google or the like for the DOI - it may give you the proper destination page, or might indicate that it's only a single source that has that DOI (in which case it's likely a typo.) Or it might give you a better idea of where/how the DOI is being used.

Your case is somewhat interesting, as the DOI is correctly being resolved to the Wiley site, but it's not a particular page which is missing, but rather it's a general search result. That is, doi.org is able to recognize things as a Wiley DOI, but passes the final bit of resolution off to Wiley, who then can't recognize it. So your situation is probably more an issue with DOI resolution, and the steps for that would be a good start.

For this particular DOI, a Google search indicates that the article is (likely) supposed to be "Finding Structure in Time" by Jeffrey L. Elman in the journal "Cognitive Science". Another Google search indicates that the current canonical DOI is apparently 10.1207/s15516709cog1402_1. As this DOI is much different from the one you're using, it's unlikely to be a typo.

Looking around, it looks like other old Cognitive Science DOIs are also broken. There's also a issue that 10.1016 is an Elsevier DOI prefix, whereas 10.1207 is a Wiley prefix, who is currently publishing Cognitive Science. From what I gather, Cognitive Science used to be published by Elsevier, but at some point got transferred to Wiley. The 10.1016/0364-0213(90)90002-E is the old Elsevier DOI, whereas the 10.1207/s15516709cog1402_1 is Wiley's DOI.

Multiple DOIs for the same item aren't great, but they can be handled. However, it's certainly Wiley's responsibility to coordinate with Elsevier and doi.org to make sure that the old DOIs continue to work. It looks like doi.org is doing the correct thing by passing them to Wiley, but Wiley needs to update their DOI resolution engine in order to correctly point the old DOI at the correct new location. It's definitely Wiley you need to contact, probably through the contact link you got at the error page.

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