Quality metadata is foundational to the research nexus and all Crossref services. When inaccuracies creep in, these create problems that get compounded down the line. No wonder that reports of metadata errors from authors, members, and other metadata users are some of the most common messages we receive into the technical support team (we encourage you to continue to report these metadata errors).
We make members’ metadata openly available via our APIs, which means people and machines can incorporate it into their research tools and services - thus, we all want it to be accurate.
The other day I was out and about and got into a conversation with someone who asked me about my doctoral work in English literature. I’ve had the same conversation many times: I tell someone (only if they ask!) that my dissertation was a history of the villanelle, and then they cheerfully admit that they don’t know what a villanelle is, and then I ask them if they’re familiar with Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do not go gentle into that good night.
Having joined the Crossref team merely a week previously, the mid-year community update on June 14th was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the Research Nexus vision. We explored its building blocks and practical implementation steps within our reach, and within our imagination of the future.
Read on (or watch the recording) for a whistlestop tour of everything – from what on Earth is Research Nexus, through to how it’s taking shape at Crossref, to how you are involved, and finally – to what concerns the community surrounding the vision and how we’re going to address that.
TL;DR A year ago, we announced that we were putting the “R” back in R&D. That was when Rachael Lammey joined the R&D team as the Head of Strategic Initiatives.
And now, with Rachael assuming the role of Product Director, I’m delighted to announce that Dominika Tkaczyk has agreed to take over Rachael’s role as the Head of Strategic Initiatives. Of course, you might already know her.
We will also immediately start recruiting for a new Principal R&D Developer to work with Esha and Dominika on the R&D team.
You need to be a member of Crossref in order to get your Crossref prefix and register your content with us. Membership of Crossref is about more than just registering DOIs - find out more on our membership page. You can apply to join there too.
After you’ve applied for membership and paid your pro-rated membership fee for the remainder of the current year, we set you up with your own Crossref DOI prefix. We also help you set up the Crossref account credentials that you’ll use to access our systems and register your content.
There are three key steps to getting started, and you can even start step one before you’ve received your new prefix and credentials.
In order to get working DOIs for your content and share your metadata with the scholarly ecosystem, you need to register your content with Crossref.
Your metadata is stored with us as XML. Some members send us XML files directly, but if you’re not familiar with writing XML files, you can use a helper tool instead. There are two helper tools available - these are online forms with different fields for you to complete, and this information is converted to XML and deposited with Crossref for you.
A big decision to make as a new member is which of our content registration methods to use.
A DOI has several sections, including a prefix and a suffix. A DOI will always follow this structure:
https://doi.org/[your prefix]/[a suffix of your choice]
We provide you with your prefix, but you decide what’s in the suffix for each of your DOIs when you register them with us. Your DOIs will look something like this:
If you use the Crossref XML plugin for OJS, they can provide suffixes for you by default, but otherwise you’ll need to decide on your own suffix pattern. It’s important to keep this opaque.
As a DOI is a persistent identifier, the DOI string can’t be changed after it’s been registered. It’s therefore important that your DOI string is opaque and doesn’t include any human-readable information. This means that the suffix should just be a random collection of characters. It should not include any information about the work that could be changed in the future, to avoid a difference between the information in the DOI string, and the information in the metadata.
For example, 10.5555/njevzkkwu4i7g is opaque (and correct), but 10.5555/ogs.2016.59.1.1 is not opaque (and not correct); it encodes information about the publication name and date which may change in the future and become confusing or misleading. So don’t include information such as publication name initials, date, ISSN, issue, or page numbers in your suffix string.
a) Set the password on your Crossref account credentials
You’ll need a set of Crossref account credentials to access our content registration tools. We’ll send you an email so you can set your password.
b) Register your content
You should assign Crossref DOIs to anything that’s likely to be cited in the scholarly literature - journals and journal articles, books and book chapters, conference proceedings and papers, reports, working papers, standards, dissertations, datasets, and preprints.
Because DOIs are designed to be persistent, a DOI string can’t be changed once registered, and DOIs can’t be fully deleted. You can always update the metadata associated with a DOI, but the DOI string itself can’t change, and once it’s been registered, it will be included in your next content registration invoice. It’s important that you only register a DOI that you definitely want to use.
Working with Crossref is about more than just DOIs. When you register content with us, you do register the DOI and the resolution URL, but you also register a comprehensive set of metadata - rich information about the content. This metadata is then distributed widely and used by many different services throughout the scholarly community, helping with discoverability of your content.
Content registration instructions for helper tools:
When you register your content, you’ll receive a message telling you whether your submission has been successful, or whether there are any problems. If there are problems, your DOI may not be live so do check this message carefully.
Our support team is available to help if you have any problems, and you may find help from others in our community on our Crossref Forum. We also run regular “Ask Me Anything” webinars for new members - learn more about our webinars and register to attend.
What happens next?
Once you’ve started registering your content with Crossref and displaying your DOIs on your landing pages, it doesn’t stop there. After you first join, we send you a series of onboarding emails to help you through the next stages. If you want to get started straight away, take a look at Levelling Up.
Page owner: Amanda Bartell | Last updated 2020-December-08