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.
Ans: metadata and services are all underpinned by POSI.
Leading into a blog post with a question always makes my brain jump ahead to answer that question with the simplest answer possible. I was a nightmare English Literature student. ‘Was Macbeth purely a villain?’ ‘No’. *leaves exam*
Just like not giving one-word answers to exam questions, playing our role in the integrity of the scholarly record and helping our members enhance theirs takes thought, explanation, transparency, and work.
In recent years, we operate on a budget of around $10 million (USD). About one-third of our revenue comes from annual dues (e.g., membership fees, subscriptions) and two-thirds from services (e.g., Content Registration, Similarly Check document checking). Our fees are set and reviewed by the Membership & Fees committee, which includes our staff, board, and community members. This group also created a set of fee principles which were approved by the board in 2019.
About two-thirds of our expenses are related to people - staff, benefits, and contracted support. One-third of our costs are everything else - hosting costs, licensing fees, events, and costs to do business like banking fees and insurance.
Each year we strive to generate a small operating net and have been able to do so nearly every year.
We also maintain a reserve fund to support long-term sustainability. An Investment Committee was formed in 2021 to update our investing policies, and we will share more later this year.
Below is a look at how our operations have changed over time.
Annual financial reporting
As a not-for-profit, we are tax-exempt, and to maintain that status, we undergo a financial audit each year by an independent accounting firm. Our auditors prepare our Form 990, which the US IRS requires and is made publicly available. It gives an overview of what we do, how we are governed, and detailed financial information.