DOI is an abbreviation for digital object identifier. This is simply an ID number assigned to an ‘object’ such as a journal article (or a book). It allows the ‘object’ to be found across any physical location such as a database. Publishers assign it to online articles so that an article may be easily identified and found within the many possible databases in which they may reside.
The APA 6th edition requires publication data for electronic sources. The DOI is now the preferred electronic retrieval format because it provides a persistent link to a document’s location on the Internet. If no DOI is available, a URL can be included.
You can use this flowchart to make it easy to determine when to include DOIs, URLs, or database information for your reference citations.
This video explains what a DOI is, and how to locate one for your source from various database platforms, including EBSCOHost, Ovid, and ProQuest. Regis uses EBSCOHost. The video uses the database PsycInfo for its examples but the information is applicable to many other databases as well.