Introduction to posted content (includes preprints)
Posted content includes preprints, eprints, working papers, reports, dissertations, and many other types of content that has been posted but not formally published. Note that accepted manuscripts are not considered posted content.
To qualify as posted content, an item must be posted to a host platform where it will receive some level of stewardship. We’re all about persistence, so it’s vital that everything registered with us be maintained. A preprint should remain online once it has been posted, including once it has appeared in a journal or if an updated version becomes available. If different versions become available, the preprint owner should update the preprint metadata using relations tags. In exceptional cases where a preprint is removed, such as in the case of plagiarism or other misconduct, we recommend that the DOI resolves to a page containing at least the title, authors, and a short explanation of the removal. Preprint owners should refer to good practice for journal article retraction in this case. Note that we cannot remove preprint metadata from our records.
Publishing preprints is about more than simply getting a DOI
Crossref can help you to clearly label content as a preprint using a preprint-specific schema. It’s not advisable to register preprints as data, components, articles, or anything else, because a preprint is not any of those things. Our service allows you to ensure the relationships between preprints and any eventual article are asserted in the metadata, and accurately readable by both humans and machines.
Benefits of our custom support for preprints
- Persistent identifiers for preprints to ensure successful links to the scholarly record over the course of time
- The preprint-specific metadata we ask for reflects researcher workflows from preprint to formal publication
- Support for preprint versioning by providing relationships between metadata for different iterations of the same document.
- Notification of links between preprints and formal publications that may follow (such as journal articles, monographs)
- Reference linking for preprints, connecting up the scholarly record to associated literature
- Auto-update of ORCID records to ensure that preprint contributors are acknowledged for their work
- Preprints include funding data so people can report research contributions based on funder and grant identification
- Discoverability: we make the metadata available for machine and human access, across multiple interfaces (including our REST API, OAI-PMH, and Metadata Search.
Obligations and limitations for depositing preprints
Members depositing preprints need to make sure they:
- Register content using the posted content metadata schema (see examples in the posted content markup guide)
- Respond to our match notifications that an accepted manuscript (AM) or version of record (VOR) has been registered, and link to that within seven days. You should designate a specific contact with us who will receive these alerts (it can be your existing technical contact)
- Clearly label the manuscript as a preprint, above the fold on the preprint landing page, and ensure that any link to the AAM orVOR is also prominently displayed above the fold.
- References will be flagged as belonging to a preprint in our Cited-by service
- The preprint is treated as one item only without components for its constituent parts
- Each version should be assigned a new DOI, and associate the versions via a relationship with type isVersionOf - learn more about structural metadata and declaring relationship types
- Preprints are not currently able to participate in Crossmark.
Membership and fees for depositing preprints
Preprint creators who would like to use our preprint service should apply to join as a member. We have a dedicated fee structure for registering each preprint, and volume discounts offered for both backfile and current content. Learn more about our fees.
Are you an existing Crossref member who wants to assign preprint DOIs? Let’s talk about getting started or migrating any existing mis-labelled content over to the dedicated preprint deposit schema. You can also give us a specific contact who will receive match notifications that an author’s accepted manuscript or version of record (AAM or VOR) has been registered. If you’re not yet a member but want to register your preprints so they are included within Crossref infrastructure service, please contact us so we can answer any questions and get you set up.
Associating posted content with published content
Once a content item has been published from the posted content and a DOI has been assigned to it, the posted content publisher will update their metadata to associate the posted content with the DOI of the accepted manuscript (AM) or version of record (VOR).
We will notify the member who deposited metadata for the posted content when we find a match between the title and first author of two publications, so that the potential relationship can be reviewed. The posted content publisher must then update the preprint metadata record by declaring the AM/VOR relationship. The notification is delivered by email to the technical contact on file. Please contact us if you need the email notifications to be sent to a different address.
Displaying and labeling on posted content publications
You must make it clear that posted content is unpublished and you must ensure that any link to the AM/VOR is prominently displayed, specifically:
- The landing page (or equivalent) of the preprint must be labeled as not formally published (for example, preprint, unpublished manuscript). This label must appear above the fold (the part of a web page that is visible in a browser window when the page first loads)
- The landing page (or equivalent) of the preprint must link to the AM/VOR when it is made available. The link must be appropriately labeled (for example, Now published in [Journal Name], Version of record available in [Journal Name]) and appear above the fold.
You can register posted content (includes preprints) by direct deposit of XML - learn more about markup examples for posted content (includes preprints).