Psychology and Education @St. Thomas

February 13, 2010

DOI in RefWorks

Filed under: APA,Citations — merriealynn @ 12:09 am

Handout on DOIs in RefWorks

In an earlier post, I talked about the DOI and its use in APA citations.

But sometimes, okay often, when you’re in RefWorks and you try to print out a bibliography in the new APA format, the numbers at the end of the citation aren’t the DOI. (If a DOI can’t be found for an electronic article, you’re supposed to use the journal’s homepage. Not where you found the article in the database. Not the link to the article in the journal.)

What you get often, is a link to the article in the database — especially from WilsonWeb’s Education Full-Text and CSA databases other than PsycInfo.  What is happening here is that the database is dumping a URL, usually to the database record, into the “links” field. Instead, it should be dumping the DOI number only into the DOI field.

Here’s an example of a bibliography printed out by RefWorks.

Reference List from RefWorks

Several problems with the reference list from RefWorks

How should you correct these? For most citations, it’s best to change the record that RefWorks use to make your bibliography, NOT the BIBLIOGRAPHY itself.

  • If you decide to add one or two additional citations and reprint your bibliography, you don’t want to have change all of your citations again.
  • If you ever want to use that reference later, for another bibliography, you don’t want to have to look up DOIs or journal homepages again.
  • Plus, if the journal changes hands, with the  DOI,  you can still find the article.

How do you change the record? Click on the edit link next to the record in RefWorks. (It’s to the right of the article’s title: the icon of the pencil on top of a sheet of paper .)

1) In the first example above, the article by Rosen, the DOI, with the URL to the database, is in the “links” field. Move the number of the DOI to the “DOI” field.

DOI in URL to doi field

Move DOI from the URL in the links field to the doi field.

2) In the second example, by Burch, I searched all over the place online, but couldn’t find a DOI. You should use the URL of the journal’s homepage (or the link to the article at the journal’s website)  in this case. And place the URL into the “links” field.

Delete the info in the links field

Delete the whole URL from the "links" field

Replace with the homepage's URL

Replace with the homepage's URL (or the article's URL on the journal website).


APA states that if an article can be found in only 1 database (their example is ProQuest’s Dissertations and Theses) you should include the URL to the database. Honestly, I think only librarians know this kind of info!

“Yikes!” you say, “This is all too complicated and too much work!”

APA’s style blog has a flowchart of how to decide which links to use. It’ll make your head hurt!

You may decide just to use the rules for the older APA version, the 5th ed.

  1. If the article is published in both an online version and a print version,  you can use the print version citation for your references. Don’t worry about a DOI, journal homepage or anything. But type [Electronic version] after the title of the article.
  2. If the article is available from a library database, like Academic Search Premier or PsycArticles, you can forget about the DOI, journal homepage, etc. You just cite it like a print article
  3. The only time you have to worry about the journal’s homepage or DOI is if the journal is published online ONLY.

These rules don’t follow the APA manual and are not acceptable for publication, especially in APA journals. However, they may make sense to you and your professor. Check with him or her about the rules you must follow. Remember, your intent is to make it easy for folks to find the articles and books you used in your research.

Handout on DOIs in RefWorks

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