The Crossref Curriculum

Understanding your member obligations

The member terms set out what all Crossref members must do in order to enjoy the mutual benefits of membership.

Collaborate with your Crossref contacts (business, billing, technical, metadata quality, and voting) at your organization at least once a year to make sure you are meeting your obligations, and that you understand each other’s areas of expertise and responsibility within your Crossref membership agreement.

  1. Metadata Deposits: you must deposit accurate metadata. For example, your DOI must point to the correct URL, and author names must be spelled correctly. Mistakes reduce matching rates, and errors are passed on to other systems which use Crossref metadata. Learn more about setting up as a member and registering content.
  2. Timely Metadata Deposits: it’s best to register a DOI and its metadata just before publication, to ensure that the DOI works right away and can be used immediately. If you are concerned that registering the DOI before publication will undermine press embargoes, you can register the content using limited metadata as a pending publication.
  3. Rights to Content: only assign DOIs to content you own and are responsible for. You are the steward of the DOI and its metadata for the long term.
  4. Registering Identifiers: assign a DOI to anything that is likely to be cited in the scholarly literature. Make this decision based on the cultural practices of your discipline, region, and time period. A new version of a content item should only get a new DOI if the difference between it and the prior version is likely to change the interpretation or crediting of the content. This is an editorial decision. When a new version does need a new DOI, you should use Crossmark to notify researchers of the status change.
  5. Linking: include DOIs in your reference lists for existing works which have DOIs. You can look these up if you don’t already know them.
  6. Reference linking: continue to include DOIs in your reference lists for works which have DOIs.
  7. Display Identifiers: display your DOIs following our DOI display guidelines.
  8. Maintaining and Updating Metadata: each DOI must resolve to a public landing page showing descriptive metadata about the content item (including its DOI, displayed correctly), and information about how to cite and access the content (may be a hyperlink leading to the content itself). If your content is open access, it can be its own landing page. As the steward of each DOI and its associated metadata, you are responsible for maintaining the accuracy of metadata associated with each of your DOIs, including a functioning URL pointing to the landing page. Make sure you (1) register DOIs before publishing or communicating them, (2) post a notification and updating the record’s URL/metadata if you need to withdraw a content item, and (3) if you acquire content that already has DOIs, update their associated metadata and do not register new DOIs for this content. Learn more about metadata stewardship.
  9. Archives: make best efforts to set up archiving arrangements for your content, and include this archiving info in your metadata. If your archiving backup become active, you authorize Crossref and your Archive to update your DOIs to point to content on the Archive site. If your content stops being maintained, Crossref is entitled to redirect your DOIs to an Archive or a Defunct DOI page hosted by Crossref.
  10. Content-Specific Obligations: if you choose to register different types of content, you will be bound by all obligations applicable to each specific content type as set out on the Crossref website.

These obligations apply to your current content, and it’s best practice to apply them to your backfile content too. Use our reports as tools to help you evaluate and improve your metadata, and learn more about all our services for members including Cited-by, Similarity Check, and Crossmark.

Thank you for playing your part in building our scholarly communications infrastructure! You are Crossref.

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