This blog post is from Lettie Conrad and Michelle Urberg, cross-posted from the The Scholarly Kitchen.
As sponsors of this project, we at Crossref are excited to see this work shared out.
The scholarly publishing community talks a LOT about metadata and the need for high-quality, interoperable, and machine-readable descriptors of the content we disseminate. However, as we’ve reflected on previously in the Kitchen, despite well-established information standards (e.g., persistent identifiers), our industry lacks a shared framework to measure the value and impact of the metadata we produce.
When Crossref began over 20 years ago, our members were primarily from the United States and Western Europe, but for several years our membership has been more global and diverse, growing to almost 18,000 organizations around the world, representing 148 countries.
As we continue to grow, finding ways to help organizations participate in Crossref is an important part of our mission and approach. Our goal of creating the Research Nexus—a rich and reusable open network of relationships connecting research organizations, people, things, and actions; a scholarly record that the global community can build on forever, for the benefit of society—can only be achieved by ensuring that participation in Crossref is accessible to all.
In August 2022, the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memo (PDF) on ensuring free, immediate, and equitable access to federally funded research (a.k.a. the “Nelson memo”). Crossref is particularly interested in and relevant for the areas of this guidance that cover metadata and persistent identifiers—and the infrastructure and services that make them useful.
Funding bodies worldwide are increasingly involved in research infrastructure for dissemination and discovery.
Preprints have become an important tool for rapidly communicating and iterating on research outputs. There is now a range of preprint servers, some subject-specific, some based on a particular geographical area, and others linked to publishers or individual journals in addition to generalist platforms. In 2016 the Crossref schema started to support preprints and since then the number of metadata records has grown to around 16,000 new preprint DOIs per month.
You need to be a member of Crossref in order to get your Crossref prefix and register your content with us. Membership of Crossref is about more than just registering DOIs - find out more on our membership page. You can apply to join there too.
After you’ve applied for membership and paid your pro-rated membership fee for the remainder of the current year, we set you up with your own Crossref DOI prefix. We also help you set up the Crossref account credentials that you’ll use to access our systems and register your content.
There are three key steps to getting started, and you can even start step one before you’ve received your new prefix and credentials.
In order to get working DOIs for your content and share your metadata with the scholarly ecosystem, you need to register your content with Crossref.
Your metadata is stored with us as XML. Some members send us XML files directly, but if you’re not familiar with writing XML files, you can use a helper tool instead. There are two helper tools available - these are online forms with different fields for you to complete, and this information is converted to XML and deposited with Crossref for you.
A big decision to make as a new member is which of our content registration methods to use.
A DOI has several sections, including a prefix and a suffix. A DOI will always follow this structure:
https://0-doi-org.lib.rivier.edu/[your prefix]/[a suffix of your choice]
We provide you with your prefix, but you decide what’s in the suffix for each of your DOIs when you register them with us. Your DOIs will look something like this:
If you use the Crossref XML plugin for OJS, they can provide suffixes for you by default, but otherwise you’ll need to decide on your own suffix pattern. It’s important to keep this opaque.
As a DOI is a persistent identifier, the DOI string can’t be changed after it’s been registered. It’s therefore important that your DOI string is opaque and doesn’t include any human-readable information. This means that the suffix should just be a random collection of characters. It should not include any information about the work that could be changed in the future, to avoid a difference between the information in the DOI string, and the information in the metadata.
For example, 10.5555/njevzkkwu4i7g is opaque (and correct), but 10.5555/ogs.2016.59.1.1 is not opaque (and not correct); it encodes information about the publication name and date which may change in the future and become confusing or misleading. So don’t include information such as publication name initials, date, ISSN, issue, or page numbers in your suffix string.
a) Set the password on your Crossref account credentials
You’ll need a set of Crossref account credentials to access our content registration tools. We’ll send you an email so you can set your password.
b) Register your content
You should assign Crossref DOIs to anything that’s likely to be cited in the scholarly literature - journals and journal articles, books and book chapters, conference proceedings and papers, reports, working papers, standards, dissertations, datasets, and preprints.
Because DOIs are designed to be persistent, a DOI string can’t be changed once registered, and DOIs can’t be fully deleted. You can always update the metadata associated with a DOI, but the DOI string itself can’t change, and once it’s been registered, it will be included in your next content registration invoice. It’s important that you only register a DOI that you definitely want to use.
Working with Crossref is about more than just DOIs. When you register content with us, you do register the DOI and the resolution URL, but you also register a comprehensive set of metadata - rich information about the content. This metadata is then distributed widely and used by many different services throughout the scholarly community, helping with discoverability of your content.
Content registration instructions for helper tools:
When you register your content, you’ll receive a message telling you whether your submission has been successful, or whether there are any problems. If there are problems, your DOI may not be live so do check this message carefully.
Our support team is available to help if you have any problems, and you may find help from others in our community on our Crossref Forum. We also run regular “Ask Me Anything” webinars for new members - learn more about our webinars and register to attend.
What happens next?
Once you’ve started registering your content with Crossref and displaying your DOIs on your landing pages, it doesn’t stop there. After you first join, we send you a series of onboarding emails to help you through the next stages. If you want to get started straight away, take a look at Levelling Up.
Page owner: Amanda Bartell | Last updated 2020-December-08