Linking Syntax


The application is not only a destination platform for doing quick and easy DOI and PMID lookups but is also a powerful URL linking syntax for navigating to full text for nearly 1,000 organizations and more than 10 Million researchers worldwide. Using in your application allows you to improve the user experience over simply linking to PubMed abstracts (and hoping for a PubMed Central OA link to be available) or linking by DOI to a publisher site. Both of these strategies suffer from common fragilities:

  • If the article in question requires authentication and seamless IP authentication is not available, the user will face a paywall for something they may actually have entitlements for through their organization but may not be familiar with how to properly navigate through the correct portals to unlock access.

  • The user may also NOT have access even through their organization, but it turns out that this paper is actually open access in either final or pre-print form at a different location than the DOI or PMID resolution may direct them. This can include everything from aggregated sources such as ProQuest, EBSCO or OVID to pre-print repositories, PubMed Central and more!

  • The user may still have no options but their organization would gladly supply the article with a simple ILL request, but the user may be unaware of this resource or how to use it. Even if they are aware, pulling that resource up after hitting a dead end becomes a chore of copy/pasting metadata into various forms. solves all of these issues by presenting a straightforward path for users and is a free resource for 3rd-party developers to use! We request that you contact us to let us know of your use of the resource so we can be sure to include you on our communications for upcoming developments/changes to the service in the future.

Syntax overview/options and workflow

The syntax is very simple:[DOI or PMID]

The LibKey application automatically determines whether it sees a DOI or PMID input.

The system then attempts to resolve for the last affiliated organization which is stored in local storage in the browser. This affiliation is achieved not just through the use of, but also through the LibKey Discovery, LibKey Link and LibKey Nomad applications used around the world so the chances of a researcher already having affiliated it is very good.

Thus, in most cases the user will see a response like this to a query for the following DOI:

LibKey Format Chooser Response

As you can see, it automatically affiliated me with University of Louisville since I had previously used a LibKey product affiliated with that organization.

This screen is called the Format Chooser and allows a researcher to decide if they want to see the PDF of the article, the Article Link to the publisher/platform where the article is located or do Discover More by viewing the article in context in the BrowZine environment. Users can also update their organization affiliation if they would like (some users have multiple affiliations) with the “Not your organization” link.

Finally, notice the check box underneath the Full Text Format Options. The user can check this when presented with multiple format types and then for 24 hours, the browser will remember “the user prefers PDF” (or the user prefers Article Link depending on their choice).

Then, the second time a user clicks on a link, if their preferred format is available, they will NOT stop at this format chooser in those 24 hours but instantly be redirected to the content providing one-click-to-content for the user from your application when the material is available! also checks Unpaywall for open access versions of articles when subscribed or Gold OA options are not available.

If a user is NOT affiliated they are presented instead with an option to affiliate themselves or declare they are unaffiliated:

If they affiliate, they will see something like the first screen presented, branded with their organization, and that organizational choice will be saved in the browser forever, so they will need only to do this once.

The same is true if they declare they are unaffiliated.

This article used for the demonstration happens to be open access, so know authentication challenge is presented to the user at any time.

However, an authentication challenge will occur as necessary and in accordance with the organizations authentication strategy (IP only, VPN, Proxy, OpenAthens, SAML, etc.) after a user elects to link through to full text content. is fully responsive and works great on the desktop as well as on tablets and smart phones:

Questions? We are here to help! Please contact us at