Have you ever found yourself frustrated reading through a paper to find that there is insufficient information about which reagents were used? Unambiguous identification of a reagent is crucial for reproducibility because mistakes in this can lead to wasted time or retractions.
Using a catalog number for identifying a reagent can be helpful, but it lacks context unless it links to a verified description of that reagent online. Furthermore, if the link between the catalog number and reagent description is lost (e.g. a supplier is bought out by another company and catalog number changes) the original identifier loses its meaning, making it difficult or impossible for researchers to track down that resource. A more long-term solution is the use of unique persistent identifiers (PIDs), a long-lasting way to identify and reference documents, files, or physical reagents.