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.
TL;DR: We no longer charge fees for members to participate in Crossmark, and we encourage all our members to register metadata about corrections and retractions - even if you can’t yet add the Crossmark button and pop-up box to your landing pages or PDFs.
Research doesn’t stand still; even after publication, articles can be updated with supplementary data or corrections. When published content is changed in this way the publisher should report and link it, so that those accessing and citing the content know if it’s been updated, corrected or even retracted. This also emphasizes the publisher’s commitment to the ongoing stewardship of published content.
Many people find and store articles to read later, either as PDFs on their laptop or on one of any number of reference management systems - when they come back to read and cite these articles, possibly many months later, they want to know if the version they have is current or not.
Removing Crossmark fees
To encourage even wider adoption of Crossmark, and to promote best practice around better reporting of corrections and retractions, we will no longer be charging additional fees for our Crossmark service. This change applies to all Crossmark metadata registered from 1 January 2020. All members are now encouraged to add Crossmark metadata and add the Crossmark button and pop-up box to their publications - and you can do so as part of your regular content registration.
Richer metadata gives important context
We know that there are many more corrections and retractions that are not yet being registered, and to address this, we are now asking all of our members to start registering metadata for significant updates to your publications, even if you don’t implement the Crossmark button and pop-up box on your content. Remember, anyone can access the Crossmark metadata through our public REST API, and start using it straight away - even if you’re not ready to implement the Crossmark button.
Check out how to get started; if you only want to deposit metadata, follow steps one through four. If you also want to add the Crossmark button and pop-up box to your web pages/PDFs so that readers can easily see when content has changed, then also follow the rest of the steps.
We launched Crossmark in 2012 to raise awareness of these critical changes, by asking Crossref members to:
help readers find out about the changes by placing a Crossmark button and pop-up box (which is consistent across all members making it recognizable to readers) on your landing pages and in PDFs
Members can also use Crossmark to register additional metadata about content, giving further context and background for the reader. These metadata appear in the “More Information” section of the Crossmark box. 7 million DOIs have some additional metadata, the most common being copyright statements, publication history, and peer review methods.
Anyone can access the Crossmark metadata through our public REST API, providing a myriad of opportunities for integration with other systems, and analysis of changes to the scholarly record.
Who has implemented Crossmark?
440 Crossref members have implemented Crossmark to date. 11.4 million DOIs have some Crossmark metadata.
DOIs with Crossmark metadata
Of those, about 130,000 contain an update:
You can see which members or journals have implemented Crossmark by viewing the relevant Crossref Participation Report.