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.
As a not-for-profit membership organization, we are sustained by fees. 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 Sponsor 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.
If you are a member through a sponsor, all Crossref billing goes to your Sponsor.
If you are a service provider or use a paid-for metadata retrieval service, you’ll receive your annual invoice in January too.
We send out invoices by email to the billing contact on your account - please do update us immediately if you need to change your billing contact. Invoices have a due date of net 45 days, and you can always view both paid and unpaid invoices in our payment portal. You’ll need login credentials for the payment portal - these are different from the account credentials that you use to register your content with us. The billing contact for each member account is automatically sent credentials for the portal, and you can request payment portal login credentials for others at your organization too.
When you receive invoices from us you will see a pay now link in the body of the email. This link takes you to our payment portal where you can pay using a credit/debit card or by ACH. You’ll also be able to see any outstanding invoices in one central place. If you aren’t able to pay using the payment portal, you have the option to pay by wire or check from a US bank.
An important part of our accounting process is the automated invoice reminder schedule. We send out automated reminders to the billing contact 7 days before the due date, and then 15 days past the invoice due date. If you still have unpaid invoices after this, we’ll send a further email to all the contacts we hold on your account (Billing, Primary, Voting, Technical and Metadata Quality) to notify you that your service is at risk of suspension. If your invoices remain unpaid after this, we suspend your account and remove your access to register content.
If an account becomes suspended for non-payment, then your membership of Crossref becomes at risk of being ‘terminated’. If your membership is terminated, you need to contact our membership specialist to discuss whether you can rejoin Crossref. You would need to pay any outstanding invoices before you can re-apply.
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. We really don’t want to see you go, so our billing team works closely with members to make sure they can pay their invoices promptly. We send numerous notifications/reminders before suspension or termination takes place, and we can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for any invoice inquiries you may have - please include your account name, prefix, and invoice number.
Tips for smoother payments
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 email@example.com 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 the billing contact on your account (such as firstname.lastname@example.org) rather than the email address for one person. This means that if one person leaves your billing team, invoices can still get through to your organization.
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about:
When you first apply to join Crossref, you’ll receive a pro-rated Subscription 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.
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 Subscription Order instead of a Subscription Invoice, as an order more accurately reflects the status of the joining process in our accounting system.
There are two different types of invoice that all members receive from us - your annual membership fee invoice, and your content registration fee invoices. If you participate in Similarity Check, there’s a third invoice you’ll receive - your Similarity Check document checking fees invoice.
If you are a member of Crossref through a Sponsor, your Sponsor will pay these invoices on your behalf. They may charge you for their services, so you need to discuss their invoicing schedule with them.
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 service 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 which may incur international charges.
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.
You’ll receive your annual subscription invoice each January.
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 or debit card payment using our payment portal
We recommend using our payment portal where possible, as other payment methods incur fees. We send out payment portal credentials to the billing contact on each new member account. If you don’t already have credentials for our payment portal, please contact us. Please note: your username and password for the payment portal is different from the Crossref account credentials you use to register your content with us.
The portal accepts most major credit cards, plus debit cards with a VISA or Mastercard symbol. The credit/debit card needs to be able to make international payments in US$.
Members based in the US can also make ACH payments through the payment portal.
If you aren’t able to pay using our payment portal, we offer two other payment methods.
We accept wire transfers from most banks. If your bank is outside the US you’ll need to add US$ 35 for a wire transfer fee.
We can also accept Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments from US banks. There are no extra fees for ACH payments from US banks.
Checks from banks
We prefer checks drawn on US banks. If you are sending payment from a US$ bank account outside the US, please add US$ 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:
Publishers International Linking Association, Inc. dba Crossref 50 Salem St. Building A Suite 304 Lynnfield, MA 0194.
If you have not been receiving invoices, please contact our membership team to update the billing email address for your account. We recommend you give us a generic departmental email address such as email@example.com to avoid emails bouncing back from the accounts of colleagues who have left your organization. Thank you!
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 please 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.
The billing contact on each member account is automatically set up with access to our payment portal. They are sent an email with a link to set their password when their organization joins. Once this password is set, the billing contact will login to the portal using their email address as their username.
(Please note - this email address and password for the payment portal is separate and different from the credentials you’ll use to access our other systems to register your content).
You can request that others at your organization have access to the payment portal too by contacting our billing team. This request will need to come from one of the key contacts that we hold for the account. These other contacts will then be sent their own email to set their password, and once this is set, they will also access the portal using their own email address and the password - different contacts at your organization will have their own separate set of credentials for the payment portal.
If you’ve forgotten your password or you need to reset it in future, you can do this by clicking on the “forgot password” link on the portal homepage. This will send an email to you with a link to reset your password.
In our old payment portal, everyone at a member organization shared one set of credentials, and the username was the account ID.
However, in our new payment portal, each person at each member organization will access the portal using different credentials based on their personal email address. This will keep things secure, and if you forget your password, you can request that a reset link is sent to your inbox using the portal - you don’t have to ask our billing team to send one to you. This should make things much faster for you.
There’s a charge for each item you register with Crossref and we invoice for this in arrears - this means you receive 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’ve registered with us during the previous quarter. However, we do sometimes roll smaller charges on to the next quarter, so you may not receive an invoice every single quarter - and the next quarter you might find charges in your invoice from previous quarters.
The information on your Content Registration invoice will look something like this:
BY Journal 09/2020: 10.5555: BY Journal article (users: aelt, fort)
You’ll see there are different lines on the invoice, and a total at the end.
Your content registration fees are split out onto separate lines on your invoice by:
Month the content was registered
Whether the content is current (CY) or backfile (BY).
This is because there are different charges for different content types, and different charges depending on whether the publication date of the content is current or backfile. Learn more about content registration fees.
You can also see on the invoice which role or roles were used to register the content you’re being charged for.
Here’s a bit more information about each section of the invoice.
This part of the invoice shows the type of content that this charge relates to, and whether the content is current or backfile. In the example above, the charge is for current year (CY) journal articles.
This part of the invoice shows the month that this content was registered. In the example above, this content was registered in August 2020.
This part of the invoice shows which prefix the content was registered with. In the example above, the content was registered under the prefix 10.5555.
This part of the invoice shows which role was used to register the content. In the example above, the role was aelt.
Sometimes more than one role has been used to register content. In the example above, both aelt and fort have been used.
All prices are in USD, and we can only accept payment in USD.
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, which may incur international charges.
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 2022, current content is anything with a publication date in 2022, 2021 or 2020. In 2023, this will change to anything with a publication date in 2023, 2022 or 2021.
Backfile content is anything registered with us with a publication date older than this. So in 2022, backfile content is anything published in 2019 or earlier. In 2023 this will become anything published in 2020 or earlier.
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. If you have different dates for print and online (for example, if you’re registering archival content), then we look at the print date.
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.
There are two sets of fees associated with Crossref membership - the annual membership fee (which covers your membership) and the content registration fees (which are a one-off fee for each item you register with us). The membership invoice is sent out at the beginning of each year to cover the forthcoming year, and the content registration invoices are sent out quarterly in arrears.
However, you won’t necessarily receive a content registration invoice every single quarter. If the amount of content you register in a quarter comes to less than USD 100, we roll it on to the next quarter. This is to avoid members having to pay lots of ‘small’ invoices, which may incur international charges. But even if you haven’t reached USD 100 in fees by the last quarter of the year, we send out an invoice anyway. This means that if you’ve only registered a small number of DOIs in your first year, you won’t receive an invoice until right at the end of the year, in your Q4 invoice which is sent out the following January. So you might go a full year before you receive a content registration invoice from us.
There are also a very small number of members who might not receive a content registration invoice from us for a few years. If you’ve only registered a couple of DOIs, we won’t send you an invoice even in Q4. So if you’ve had a few years of registering just a tiny handful of DOIs, you might not receive a content registration invoice for a few years.
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 Manage Users 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.
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.
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.
The GEM Program begins on 1st January 2023. Existing members who are eligible for the GEM program will not be sent a membership fee invoice for 2023, and will not be charged for content registered after 1st January 2023. They will still be responsible for any fees incurred before 1st January 2023.
Not all. The annual membership fee and content registration fees are waived for GEM-eligible members from 1st January 2023. But participation in other paid services, such as Similarity Check and Metadata Plus, will be charged at the usual fees.