Should we have a policy on how to link through papers? For example: Should we always link via DOI number? I ask as I have been given an answer that links to a PDF, instead of via DOI.

The complicating factor I realized, is that while DOIs are much more stable and reliable, the ACS page in this case is probably not Open Access, so many users wouldn't be able to see it if I change it to the DOI.

Summary: DOI: More likely to work over a long term (5, 10 years). Less likely to be available to the general public. Direct linking to a free source (Authors website for example): More likely to be available to the public now. However, if other information is not recorded (As in the above) then if that link breaks we are unlikely to be able to reconstruct the link.

I'd in favour of requiring a DOI with each link to an academic paper, in addition to any free link. What do the rest of you think?

  • $\begingroup$ How about adding doi links in HTML comments at the bottom of the post? $\endgroup$ May 28, 2012 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ Might work, though I'd like both in text, so I can then get to the supplementary information if I want. $\endgroup$
    – Canageek
    May 28, 2012 at 15:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of What is the recommended style of citing on chemistry.se? Also, linking to pay-walled PDFs in good-intentioned attempt of making them available to the public is not a recommended policy. $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2018 at 5:37
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think this is a duplicate, because (in my opinion) for shorter answers, full references aren't necessary and a DOI link is enough. $\endgroup$ May 2, 2018 at 17:17

1 Answer 1



  • Keep DOI links in HTML comments. Note that Community♦ does comment on posts with broken links--thus we can manually fix these by just copying the doi link if the pdf breaks.

  • Link like this:

    Water is poisonous(source:pdf,doi).

  • Keep DOI links in SE comments

  • Keep DOI at the bottom of the post

    Taken from here:

    Water is poisonous




    DOI links for citations: 1,2,3...

I don't feel that we ought to enforce this, though. It's just a suggestion to keep the links working, follow it if you wish.

  • $\begingroup$ If I can find the doi links, I may implement this on some of my posts when I get bored. $\endgroup$ May 29, 2012 at 1:16

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