Our colleague and friend, Kirsty Meddings, passed away peacefully on 10th December at home with her family, after a sudden and aggressive cancer. She was a huge part of Crossref, our culture, and our lives for the last twelve years.
Kirsty Meddings is a name that almost everyone in scholarly publishing knows; she was part of a generation of Oxford women in publishing technology who have progressed through the industry, adapted to its changes, spotted new opportunities, and supported each other throughout.
Crossref has supported depositing metadata for preprints since 2016 and peer reviews since 2018. Now we are putting the two together, in fact we will permit peer reviews to be registered for any content type.
2020 has been a very challenging year, and we can all agree that everyone needs a break. Crossref will be providing very limited technical and membership support from 21st December to 3rd January to allow our staff to rest and recharge. We’ll be back on January 4th raring to answer your questions. Amanda explains more about why we made this decision.
On November 11th 2020, the Crossref Board voted to adopt the “Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure” (POSI). POSI is a list of sixteen commitments that will now guide the board, staff, and Crossref’s development as an organisation into the future. It is an important public statement to make in Crossref’s twentieth anniversary year. Crossref has followed principles since its founding, and meets most of the POSI, but publicly committing to a codified and measurable set of principles is a big step. If 2019 was a reflective turning point, and mid-2020 was about Crossref committing to open scholarly infrastructure and collaboration, this is now announcing a very deliberate path. And we’re just a little bit giddy about it.
Our friend and colleague Christine Hone (née Buske) passed away in May from a short but brutal illness. Here is our attempt at ‘some words’, which we wrote for her funeral book and are posting here with her husband Dave’s permission.
We are devastated to lose Christine as a colleague and friend. It’s hard to put into words the effect she had on our small organization in such a short time, and how much we’re already missing her. But here it goes.
It was 2015 when some of us first met Chris, and we immediately saw how much of an asset she could be to our organization. She was very active in the community and well-known in many academic and publishing circles around the world. And she had an enviable combination of technical skills, a scientific mind, and a natural ability to engage people.
We tried to recruit her back then but she was in demand by others and it wasn’t until early 2018 that we succeeded. We finally got her! She became the Product Manager for a very advanced and complex system but she took to it perfectly, with real excitement and a complete understanding of how we (and therefore she) could help the research community all over the world see and make connections.
With colleagues spread around the world, she joined an organization that had exciting opportunities and its share of challenges. Chris engaged with all of this head-on. She handled a constant stream of queries from people spread across time zones, whilst at the same time getting to grips with a service that was difficult to pin down. She balanced these tasks which were at very opposite ends of the spectrum. She added so much and with such energy and intelligence to everything she got involved in, always bringing human attention and creativity.
In her talk at the 5:AM altmetrics conference she brought together technical detail, big-picture ideas, and her own particular passion. Her opening words were “My name is Christine and I’m a recovering fish scientist”. Never afraid to bring her personal brand of humour into the workplace, her opening slide was a photograph of her covered in rats. That presentation was the first time that much of the audience really understood our service. Having cracked the messaging for us, she was due to give the same talk at our annual meeting in Toronto a few months later…
Many of us were in Toronto for that meeting; it was two weeks after we’d heard the news of her diagnosis. Some of us were able to visit her in the hospital where she told us of her and Dave’s decision to bring forward their wedding plans. It was a bittersweet announcement but, clearly, they adored each other and were determined to be happy together despite the challenging times ahead.
Over the last few months, even when she had little energy to spare, Chris popped in (virtually) to chat and update us, share pictures and, selflessly, to see how we were doing. Even people who never met or worked closely with her started to follow her vlog and exchange notes and news directly.
We have all been rocked by the news and there is a lot of sadness and grief among the Crossref staff and community. Even in the last moments we shared together Chris always asked about how her projects were going. Her passion for her products was a big part of what animated her when she first joined. Throughout her late-stage illness, this remained constant. She yearned to return to work. This zeal will forever be an inspiration to us all at Crossref.