Become a member

You need to be a member of Crossref in order to get a DOI prefix so you can create Crossref DOIs and register content. You don’t need to be a member to use others’ metadata; head over to read more about our open metadata retrieval tools.

Membership allows you to connect your content with a global network of online scholarly research, currently over 17,000 other organizational members from 140 countries. It’s so much more than just getting a DOI.

Are you eligible?

Many types of organizations register their research objects with us. You could be a research institution, a publisher, a government agency, a research funder, or a museum! In order to become a member, you need to meet the criteria set out in our membership terms approved by our governing board:

Membership in Crossref is open to organizations that produce professional and scholarly materials and content.

Essentially, if your content is likely to be cited in the research ecosystem and you consider it part of the evidence trail, then you’re eligible to join.

Crossref membership is for the “largest legal entity” of your organization. This means, for example, that if you wish to register a journal with us, and the journal is published by your university, then your university would need to join Crossref rather than just your journal or department. If you wish to register a journal and the journal itself is the largest legal entity, then you are welcome to join us in the name of your journal.

NB Due to international sanctions, we are currently unable to accept membership applications from organizations based in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or the Donbas or Crimea regions of Ukraine. There’s more information on our sanctions page. But do still get in touch if you are based in one of these countries so we can make a note of your interest and let you know if the situation changes.

Member obligations and benefits

When you join as a member, you’ll commit to the Crossref membership terms, giving you access to all the benefits of Crossref membership.

You’ll join a community of publishers who are all linking to each other persistently through their references. We provide you with a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) prefix which will form the stem of links to all your metadata records. You create the suffixes of your DOIs as you register your DOIs and metadata in our system. The metadata you register with us will be shared with hundreds of organizations in the scholarly ecosystem, helping to make your content more discoverable and benefiting the entire scholarly community. You’ll be able to vote for (and stand for) our board, giving you a voice in Crossref governance. You’ll also be able to take advantage of our services (content registration, the Funder Registry, Similarity Check, Cited-by and Crossmark). And, of course, you’re able to create a persistent identifier for each citable object that you publish.

But it also means that you have obligations to your fellow members and the wider scholarly community. Joining Crossref is much more than just getting a DOI - you’re committing to a long term relationship with your content and metadata, and to the rest of the community.

When you accept the terms, you commit to these obligations:

You’ll need to do this for all content published after joining. If you host and publish your journals using the OJS platform from the Public Knowledge Project, use the dedicated OJS plugins. Otherwise, registering your content can be done by direct deposit of XML (perhaps using a vendor) or, if you can’t supply XML, simply use our online web deposit form.

Our terms (3 (c)) stipulate that “The Member will not deposit or register Metadata for any Content for which the Member does not have legal rights to do so”.

3. Maintain and update your metadata and landing pages for the long term

You’ll need to maintain and update your metadata, including URLs if your content moves or changes, and adding rich metadata as you collect more. Metadata distribution through Crossref benefits you as well as the whole community.

4. Follow the Crossref DOI display guidelines

You’ll need to:

  • Ensure that each DOI resolves to a unique landing page.
  • Use the DOI as the permanent link to the page.
  • Always display DOIs on your landing pages, PDFs, and elsewhere, close to the bibliographic citation information.

5. Undertake Reference linking

You’ll need to actively maximize persistent links with other Crossref members by linking out from your reference lists, databases, and tools, using DOIs. You can find other members’ DOI links using our reference linking tools.

6. Pay your invoices

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, so it’s important that members pay their fees on time.

Please read the full membership terms before applying.

How much does it cost?

Independent membership

Most members pay an annual membership fee, which is tiered depending on your publishing revenue/expenses. The tiers start at US$275 and are the same for both commercial and not for profit organizations. A pro-rated membership fee for the remainder of the current year is due before your account can be activated, meaning you’ll receive an invoice soon after applying, and then each and every subsequent year in January. You are responsible for paying these annual membership fees each year unless you actively cancel your membership.

There are also one-off fees for each item you register with us (but no further charges to update the metadata associated with these records once they are registered). We send out quarterly content registration invoices. Content registration fees vary depending on content type and whether the content is current or backfile, but as a guide, the cost to register a single, current article is US$1.

Organizations located in the least economically-advantaged countries in the world do not pay an annual membership fee and do not pay content registration fees - find out more on our Global Equitable Membership (GEM) program page.

If you have further questions about billing, do visit our fees page and our billing FAQs page.

Membership via a Sponsor

We know that cost and technical capabilities can be barriers to participation, so we offer a sponsors program. Members who join via a sponsor have the same benefits and obligations as other members, but they have someone to support their membership. Sponsors pay one membership fee for all the members that they work with, and they also pay content registration fees on behalf of their members. They also provide technical and local language support for their members.

Sponsors are able to charge for their services, so it’s important to discuss your agreement with your sponsor before joining. If a member is eligible for the Global Equitable Membership (GEM) program, we do not charge their sponsors membership fees or content registration fees, but again, the sponsor is able to charge for their services. Find out more about working with a sponsor.

Ready to apply?


If you have questions please consult our forum at community.crossref.org or open a ticket with our membership team where we’ll reply within a few days.

Page owner: Amanda Bartell   |   Last updated 2021-May-10