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.
Funders are joining Crossref to register their grants so that they can more easily and accurately track the outputs connected to the research they support.
Once you’re a member, registering grants with us means giving us information about each awarded grant, including a DOI which uniquely and persistently identifies each record. You can use the grant registration form or direct XML deposit methods to deposit and update grant metadata. This section focuses on grants, but research funders can also register other content types such as reports, data, and working papers.
Something to consider before you begin
Decide which grants to register first, as you get into the swing of things. For example, pilot a particular country, or area of support. It’s better to start with newly-awarded grants, and then move on to older or long-running awards - these are cheaper to register, and are more likely to have produced research papers, so they’re great for demonstrating the full potential of connected research metadata.
Constructing your identifiers (DOIs)
A DOI is made up of a DOI resolver, a prefix, and a suffix. When you join Crossref as a member, we give you a DOI prefix. You combine this with a suffix of your choice to create a DOI. Although some funders choose to use their internal grant identifier as the DOI suffix, we advise you to make your suffix opaque, meaning that it does not encode or describe any information about the work. Your DOI becomes active once it is successfully registered with us. Read more about constructing your DOIs.
Should a grant move to a new landing page, the URL in the grant’s metadata is updated to point to the new location. There’s no charge to update metadata for existing deposits.
Registering grant metadata
Grants can be registered for all sorts of support provided to a research group or individual, such as awards, use of facilities, sponsorship, training, or salary awards.
Here’s the section of our schema for grant metadata. If you’re working with a third-party system, such as Proposal Central or EuroPMC, they may be able to help with this piece of work.
Registering grant metadata using the grant registration form
You can use the grant registration form to register grants, with no prior knowledge of XML. You fill out the form and the XML is created for you in the background. You enter your account credentials and the metadata is submitted directly.
Formatting grant metadata for direct deposit
If you’d prefer to work directly with XML, you may be able to map your own data and identifiers to our schema. See our example deposit file - this is a full example, and many of the fields it contains are optional, but we encourage you to provide as much information as you can. Rich metadata helps maximum reuse of the grant records you register with Crossref. This .xsd file helps explain what goes into each field, and the parameters (length, format) of what is accepted in each field. Here’s a less techy version.
When you’ve created your XML files, use our checker to test them - this will show any potential errors with your files. For help with resolving problems, send your XML file and the error message to Support.
Uploading your files to Crossref
Once you’re happy with your files, upload them to us using the admin tool, or submit them through HTTPS POST.
Let your grant submission systems, awardees, and other parties know you are supporting Crossref grant identifiers, and that they should start collecting these identifiers too. Crossref grant metadata (including grant DOIs) is made openly available through our APIs, so it can be used by third parties (including publishers, grant tracking systems) to link grants to related research outputs.
Page owner: Rachael Lammey | Last updated 2020-April-08