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 One of the things that makes me glad to work at Crossref is the principles to which we hold ourselves, and the most public and measurable of those must be the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure, or POSI, for short. These ambitions lay out how we want to operate - to be open in our governance, in our membership and also in our source code and data. And it’s that openness of source code that’s the reason for my post today - on 26th September 2022, our first collaboration with the JSON Forms open-source project was released into the wild.
Fully implementing Crossmark is a relatively technical process. You’ll need to include Crossmark-specific metadata for each DOI that you register. And you’ll need to add the DOI in a html meta-tag in each article landing page where Crossmark is implemented, as well as include a script in the source code for each page that calls the Crossmark dialog box.
Step one: Designate a Crossmark policy page and assign it a DOI
You’ll need a way to explain Crossmark to your readers. To do this, you’ll need a page on your website explaining that you are participating in the Crossmark service and have committed to maintaining version of record copies of content that display the Crossmark button. This page should be registered and have a DOI to enable persistent linking. It should explain your policies on corrections, retractions, withdrawals and other updates, and may contain definitions and explanations of any additional custom metadata fields that are being used. The page could also include links to other relevant policies such as author submission guidelines, and peer review guidelines. You may already have a suitable page on your website, but don’t forget to register it with us so it has a DOI.
Step two: Deposit the minimum Crossmark metadata for all your content
It’s important to apply the Crossmark button to all of your current content, not just content that has updates. The problem with partial implementation of Crossmark is that when an item of content is published, you won’t know if it might need to be updated at some point in the future. Therefore, a researcher may download a PDF article today without a Crossmark button, but if the article is subsequently updated and the Crossmark button is added, the researcher has no way of knowing if their locally-saved article is still current, as it had no Crossmark button at the point when they downloaded it. If you’re using the Crossmark service, we’d expect you to display the Crossmark button on all your content, whether or not it has an update.
The minimum metadata required for the Crossmark button to display is:
The DOI of the content the Crossmark is being applied to
The DOI for your Crossmark Policy Page
Deposit Crossmark metadata by direct deposit of XML
If you usually register your content with us by uploading XML files into the admin tool or sending us XML by HTTPS POST, then you can include Crossmark metadata in your initial deposit. You can also add Crossmark metadata to existing DOIs using a resource-only-XML deposit. Some members find our XML samples helpful for full and resource-only deposits.
Deposit Crossmark metadata the web deposit form (or if you’re still using the deprecated Metadata Manager)
Simply add your Crossmark metadata into the relevant fields.
In Metadata Manager, you need to add the Crossmark Policy Page up at journal level. Go to the journal-level record for your publication, add your Crossmark policy page DOI, and click Save.
Deposit Crossmark metadata using the Crossref plugin for OJS
This is not currently available, but should be coming soon.
Step three: Add metadata that reflects any updates to specific items
If there is an update to a content item, you need to add extra Crossmark metadata to indicate this. Updates should only be deposited for editorially significant changes - those that are likely to affect the interpretation or crediting of the work, and not for minor changes such as spelling corrections or formatting changes.
There are 12 defined types of accepted update within Crossmark:
If an update does not fall into one of these categories, it should instead be placed in the more information section of the pop-up box by being deposited as an assertion. Please note - @order is an optional attribute. If @order is absent, it will return results in the order in which you list them in your deposit, but this is not guaranteed. If you want to be sure of the order, then you can use @order. Learn more about the Crossmark deposit elements (including what is optional) in the schema.
When deposited content corrects or updates earlier content, the DOI(s) of the corrected content must be supplied in the Crossmark metadata. See the Crossref unixref documentation section on updates for examples of how this is recorded in the Crossmark metadata.
When a correction is made in situ (that is, it replaces the earlier version completely), then the DOI of the corrected content will be the same as the DOI for the original Crossref deposit. In situ updates are not considered best practice as they obscure the scholarly record.
Step four: Apply the Crossmark button to your HTML pages
Add the button
There are a number of variations of the Crossmark button available so that you can choose one that fits well on your site. You can change the Crossmark button that is used simply by changing the src attribute of the img element to point to one of the following:
Alternatively, this you can view source on this page to see the correct code snippets for each style of button.
The button can be resized according to your design needs by changing the image width in the image tag but do follow the Crossmark button guidelines.
Don’t forget to record the DOI in the HTML metadata
The Crossmark button needs to have a DOI to reference in order to pull in the relevant information. This needs to be embedded in the head of the HTML metadata for all content to which Crossmark buttons are being applied as follows:
It may appear redundant to apply Crossmark elements both in their own Crossmark namespace as well in the pdfx namespace, but the latter is necessary to ensure the Crossmark elements appear in the PDF dictionary, a specific requirement for some search engines. Any metadata found in the pdfx namespace will be copied over to the document info dictionary. Simply make sure that Crossmark metadata is in the pdfx namespace in the XMP provided to the tool.
The link structure for Crossmark links from PDFs looks like this:
domain tells the Crossmark system what kind of static content the link is coming from, and will change for different static formats (such as epub)
date_stamp tells the Crossmark system the date on which a last Major Version of the PDF was generated. In most cases, this will be the date the article was published. However, when a member makes significant corrections to a PDF in-situ (no notice issued, and no new version of the work with a new DOI) then the date_stamp should reflect when the PDF was regenerated with the corrections. The system will then use the date_stamp in order to tell whether the reader needs to be alerted to updates or not. The date_stamp argument should be recorded in the form YYYY-MM-DD (learn more about ISO 8601).
Further options: adding more information to the Crossmark button
The Crossmark box has a section for you to show any additional non-bibliographic information about the content. You decide what to include here (you are not required to add anything). In this section, Crossmark participants often include publication history dates, details of the peer review process used, and links to supporting information.
Use Metadata Manager to add custom metadata, or use the assertion element in your XML.
Several metadata elements will automatically display in the Crossmark box if you are registering them:
Author names and their ORCID iDs (learn more about contributors)
If you are already registering this additional metadata at the time you implement Crossmark, there is nothing more you need to do. If you start to register these metadata elements after you have set up Crossmark, they will automatically be put into the Crossmark box.
Page owner: Isaac Farley | Last updated 2022-June-30