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10 Simple rules for design, provision, and reuse of persistent identifiers for life science data

McMurry, Julie; Blomberg, Niklas; Burdett, Tony; Conte, Nathalie; Dumontier, Michel; Fellows, Donal K; Gonzalez-Beltran, Alejandra; Gormanns, Philipp; Hastings, Janna; Haendel, Melissa A; Hermjakob, Henning; Hériché, Jean-Karim; Ison, Jon C; Jimenez, Rafael C; Jupp, Simon; Juty, Nick; Laibe, Camille; Le Novère, Nicolas; Malone, James; Martin, Maria J; McEntyre, Johanna R; Morris, Chris; Muilu, Juha; Müller, Wolfgang; Mungall, Christopher J; Rocca-Serra, Philippe; Sansone, Susanna-Assunta; Sariyar, Murat; Snoep, Jacky L; Stanford, Natalie J; Swainston, Neil; Washington, Nicole; Williams, Alan R; Wolstencroft, Katherine; Goble, Carole; Parkinson, Helen

In the life sciences, problems with identifiers impede the flow and integrity of information. This is especially challenging within “synthesis research” disciplines such as systems biology, translational medicine, and ecology. Implementation-driven initiatives such as ELIXIR, BD2K, and others have therefore been actively working to understand and address underlying problems with identifiers. 

Good, global-scale, persistent identifier design is harder than it appears, and is essential for data to be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (Data FAIRport principles). Here, we build on emerging conventions and existing general recommendations  and summarise the identifier characteristics most important to optimising the utility of life-science data. We propose actions to take in the identifier ‘green field’ and offer guidance for using real-world identifiers from diverse sources.

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