The Crossref Curriculum

All about invoicing and payment

As a not-for-profit membership organization, we have a duty to remain sustainable and manage our finances in a responsible way. Financial sustainability means we can keep the organization afloat and keep our dedicated service to scholarly communications running.

As a member (or a Sponsoring Organization who represents members), you’ll receive your annual membership fee invoice each January. If you participate in Similarity Check, this invoice will contain your Similarity Check annual service charge, and you’ll also receive a separate Similarity Check document-checking invoice for the documents you’ve checked in the previous year.

We invoice for content registration on a quarterly basis - learn more about when you will be billed.

If you are a service provider or use a paid-for metadata retrieval service, you’ll receive your annual invoice in January too.

An important part of our accounting process is the automated invoice reminder schedule. There are three billing reminders we send by email:

  • The day immediately after the invoice due date;
  • 21 days past the invoice due date; and
  • 45 days past the invoice due date.

We don’t want to see you go!

We understand there are many factors that can make prompt payment a challenge for some people: international transfer delays or fees; funding for your publishing operations may end; change of contacts; problems receiving our emails, etc.

When an account is 90 days past due, a further email will be sent to all the contacts we hold on your account (Billing Business, Voting, Technical and Metadata Quality) to notify you that your service is at risk of suspension. If an account becomes suspended for non-payment it then becomes at risk of being ‘terminated’. Once an account has been terminated, you will need to contact our membership specialist to rejoin Crossref. Please note that we send numerous notifications/reminders before suspension or termination takes place (we don’t want to see you go!). We can always be reached at <code></code> for any invoice inquiries you may have - please include your account name, prefix, and invoice number.

Tips that work for other members and users

Here are some things you can do to help speed up, or simplify payments:

  • Pay with a credit card, using our online payment portal. This is fast, convenient, and lower in fees.
  • Always reference an invoice number on the payment to ensure that it’s applied to your account efficiently.
  • Be sure to make a ‘safe’ email address, so that you receive our invoices and reminders.
  • Always keep us up-to-date with any contact changes at your organization, to ensure that we have accurate information for invoicing and other communication.
  • We recommend giving us a generic email address for your accounts payable team, such as so that if somebody leaves that job, invoices can still get through.

On this page, learn more about:

I’ve just received the membership order for my first year of membership. It’s less than the amount I expected - is this a mistake?

Don’t worry, this isn’t a mistake.

When you first apply to join Crossref, you’ll receive a pro-rated Membership Order for the remainder of that calendar year. So depending on when you join, you’ll only pay for the remaining months of that year.

The calculation will also reflect whether you apply in the first or second half of the month. For example, if you join before the middle of July (15th of the month), your membership order will be for six months. If you join after the middle of July, your membership order will be for five months.

Then, in the following January, you’ll receive an invoice for the whole of that calendar year, and will continue to receive invoices every subsequent January.

I’ve just received the invoice for my first year of membership. It’s titled “membership order” rather than “invoice”. Can you change it so it’s called an invoice?

Unfortunately, no, we cannot change the document type. We have hundreds of organizations that apply for membership with good intentions, but then decide that timing, or other factors, delay them from completing the joining process. For this reason, we issue a Membership Order instead of a Membership Invoice, as an order more accurately reflects the status of the joining process in our accounting system.

When will I be billed?

There are two different types of invoice that all members receive from us. If you participate in Similarity Check, there’s a third invoice you’ll receive.

If you are a member of Crossref through a Sponsor, your Sponsor will pay these invoices on your behalf. Learn more about sponsored member fees

Your annual membership fee invoice This allows you to remain a member of our organization and take advantage of our services and the reciprocal relationship with other members. Members receive this invoice in January each year to cover their membership for that year - so in January 2021 you’ll receive a membership invoice for 2021. If you participate in Similarity Check, your annual fee for Similarity Check will also be included in this invoice.

Content registration invoices There’s a charge for each item you register with Crossref, and we invoice for this in arrears - this means that we send you the invoice after you’ve registered the content, so we know exactly how much to charge.

These invoices are usually sent out on a quarterly basis and cover the deposit fees for the content you registered with us during the previous quarter:

  • In April, you’ll receive an invoice for the content you registered in the first quarter of the year (January - March)
  • In July, you’ll receive an invoice for the content you registered in the second quarter of the year (April - June)
  • In October, you’ll receive an invoice for the content you registered in the third quarter of the year (July - September)
  • In January you’ll receive an invoice for the content you registered in the fourth quarter of the previous year (October - December)

However, you may not receive an invoice every single quarter. If your content registration charges are below USD 100 for a quarter, those charges will roll forward to the next quarter. This is to avoid members having to pay lots of smaller invoices. This is particularly important for members based outside the US who may incur international charges on each invoice they pay.

These charges don’t roll on past a full year though - so even if your total content registration fees haven’t hit USD 100 by the end of the year, you’ll receive a content registration invoice in January to cover all your content registration fees for the previous year.

To put it another way - you’ll be invoiced when your total charges exceed USD 100, or in the last quarter of the year, whichever occurs first.

Similarity Check document checking invoices If you participate in the Similarity Check service, you’ll receive an extra invoice each January to cover the fees for all the documents you’ve checked in the previous year. Your first 100 documents are free though, so if you check fewer than 100 documents, you won’t receive an invoice.

What are the payment terms?

Payment terms are 45 days.

What are your current fees?

Our current fees are always available on our fees page.

How do I pay - what are the payment methods?

We usually send out invoices by email to your named billing contact. The email will include full payment details including account numbers, but here are the basic payment methods. Please note we can only accept payment in US dollars.

  1. Credit card payments are made via our payment portal. If you don’t already have a username and password for our payment portal, please contact Please note: your username and password for the payment portal is different from the username and password you use to register your content with us.
  2. Bank transfers/wires and Automated Clearing House (ACH) - please add USD 35 for wire transfer fee.
  3. Checks from banks - we prefer checks drawn on US banks. If you are sending payment from a USD bank account outside the US, please add USD 50 to your payment to cover processing fees. Please mail checks, with a copy of the invoice or with the invoice number referenced on the check, to: Crossref, PO BOX 719, Lynnfield, MA 01940.

If you have not been receiving invoices, please contact us to update the email address for your account. We recommend you give us a generic departmental email address such as to avoid emails bouncing back from the accounts of colleagues who have left your organization. Thank you!

Can you make a change to my invoice after I’ve received it?

What we can change If the invoice hasn’t yet been paid, we can make the following changes:

  • We can update your organization name or address if this has changed.
  • We can update the detail if there’s an error on the invoice. For example, if you’ve been charged for current content when you should have been charged for backfile content (due to an error in registering the publication date), we can amend the invoice once you’ve updated your metadata.

What we can’t change

  • We can’t change dates and due dates, so it’s important to pay the invoices as soon as you receive them.
  • We can’t add wire fees into the invoice as they aren’t a standard charge for everyone - only for those who use wire transfer as a payment method. Wire fees are USD 35, so you’ll need to add this to your total if you’re paying by wire transfer.

Will any tax be added to my invoice?

No tax will be added to your invoice - there’s no tax on membership fees or any of the services we offer.

I’ve received an email saying my service has been suspended due to unpaid invoices. Can you extend the payment deadline?

Unfortunately not. A suspension is not a termination of your membership, it just temporarily suspends your ability to register content with us. As soon as payment for past due balances is received, your service will be restored and you will be able to register content again.

I’ve deposited/registered content with you in the last quarter, but I haven’t received my latest quarterly deposit invoice

We send invoices for the metadata you register with us on a quarterly basis. However, if the amount comes to less than USD 100, we roll it on to the next quarter. If you haven’t reached USD 100 in fees by the last quarter of the year, we send out an invoice anyway.

This is to avoid members having to pay lots of ‘small’ invoices. This is particularly important for members outside the US, who may incur international charges on each invoice.

What do the CY and BY on my invoice stand for on my content registration invoice?

CY stands for current content (Current Year), and BY stands for backfile content (Back Year). You’re charged a different amount depending on the content type you’re registering, and also whether the content is current (CY) or backfile (BY).

Current content is anything registered with us with a publication date in the current year, or up to two years previously. For example, in 2020, current content is anything with a publication date in 2020, 2019 or 2018. In 2021, this will change to anything with a publication date in 2021, 2020 or 2019.

Backfile content is anything registered with us with a publication date older than this. So in 2020, backfile content is anything published in 2017 or earlier. In 2021 this will become anything published in 2018 or earlier.

Why was I charged the CY fee for BY articles?

Content Registration fees differ according to whether the content you register is current (published during this year or the previous two years) or backfile (older than that).

A record is determined to be either backfile or current based on the publication date in your metadata. A record is determined to be either back year or current year based on the publication date in your metadata. If you use our web deposit form, the system looks at the information you’ve entered into the publication date field. If you deposit XML directly with us, the system looks at the date in the <publication_date> element. And we look at each individual item separately—so even if you’ve put a publication date at the journal level, you still need to put it at the journal article level too.

If you’ve been charged ‘current’ fees for content that is actually backfile, it’s probably because the wrong date was put in the publication date field. We have had instances where members have accidentally put the date they registered the content into that field, rather than the date of publication.

You can fix this by updating your metadata with the correct publication dates. Please let us know as soon as you’ve done this so we can provide you with an amended invoice.

My Similarity Check document checking invoice doesn’t match the number of submissions/documents I’ve checked in iThenticate

Users of our Similarity Check service receive an invoice each January for the documents they’ve checked in the previous year. The Similarity Check administrator for each organization can monitor their spend throughout the year by checking the reports section of the iThenticate platform (under the <em>Manage Users</em> tab).

However, sometimes you may see a difference between the number of documents that you’re invoiced for and the number that the report in iThenticate tells you that you’ve checked. There are a few possible reasons for this.

Documents above a certain size are considered more than one document

For billing purposes, a single document is considered anything of 25,000 words or fewer.

So if you check a document of 25,001-50,000 words, it will be considered 2 document checks. If you check a document of 50,001-75,000 words, it will be considered 3 document checks. And so on.

It’s important to check the ‘documents’ column in the iThenticate report and not the ‘submissions’ column as you are invoiced for the number of documents checked and not files submitted.

No charge for accidental duplicates

If you accidentally check the same document several times, we treat this as a duplicate and don’t charge you for it. This includes any documents with exactly the same filename and exactly the same Similarity Score that are submitted within the same 24 hour period. The ‘Manage Users’ report in iThenticate isn’t able to detect this but these are detected and removed from your invoice before we send it.

This means that you may see slightly fewer document checks on your invoice than you see in your iThenticate report.

Your first 100 documents are free of charge

Your first 100 documents are free of charge, so you’ll see 100 fewer document checks on your invoice than you see in your iThenticate report.

I have more charges for Crossmark than I have for journal articles - how is this possible?

For ‘standard’ content registration, you’re only charged when you first register a DOI, and any subsequent updates are free. However, until the end of 2019, there was an extra charge for adding Crossmark metadata into a record, even if you were adding it as a later update to an existing DOI.

Because of this, you may see more charges for Crossmark than you do for journal articles. For example, if you registered 200 journal articles in the last quarter and added Crossmark into those 200 articles, plus you added another 50 Crossmark data to existing DOIs, you’ll see a journal article charges for 200 items and a Crossmark charge for 250 items.

Page owner: Laura J. Wilkinson   |   Last updated 2020-April-08