March 2010

From the Executive Director

CrossRef is well into its 10th year, and I’m pleased to say that we are looking forward to some exciting developments that should make the next decade just as momentous as the last. The core reference linking service continues to grow and there is more and more use of CrossRef DOIs and CrossRef Metadata ServicesCrossCheck has a critical mass of participation and is starting to have a positive effect on the publishing process. The ORCID project is taking the Contributor ID work forward and we are busy developing the CrossMark initiative. A CrossMark beta system is in development and more information will be available in a few months time.  Some basic information about the services is available ( 

The 2010 Annual Meeting is November 16th in London, so save the date (with the Technical Meeting on November 15th).

Social media is a current hot topic at many industry conferences and it is something that concerns CrossRef.  I find that I’m increasingly using Twitter to keep up-to-date with industry developments and get feedback about CrossRef activities.  CrossRef as an organization is finding Twitter very effective for communicating and getting feedback ( for the CrossRef account and for mine). It seems like there are lots of researchers and librarians on Twitter. I’ve had librarians report broken CrossRef DOIs via Twitter, which I’ve forwarded to the publisher who had them fixed within a few hours.

Another hot topic is the Semantic Web and Linked Data. A recent posting to the CrossTech blog by Geoffrey Bilder outlines some concrete proposals for making CrossRef and the DOI System more Linked Data friendly and has generated some interesting discussions.

Finally, please join me in welcoming our newest addition to the CrossRef staff–Amy Wright as Staff Accountant.

CrossRef Helping Develop Identifiers for Researchers Through ORCID

Our members will be aware that CrossRef has been exploring the possibility of creating a “Contributor ID” system to uniquely identify researchers and connect them with their publications. The CrossRef DOI allows researchers, librarians, and publishers to unambiguously identify published scholarly literature. We believe that the next step toward creating a robust and persistent scholarly record is to develop a similar mechanism for unambiguously crediting researchers for their scholarly contributions. CrossRef members have also indicated that addressing this issue should be a high priority for CrossRef. 

As CrossRef has been working on its Contributor ID project, it has become clear that the issues and use cases involved in identifying researchers span a broad collection of stakeholders including libraries, institutions, funders, publishers and, of course, researchers themselves. In short, this is not just a publisher problem. Therefore, CrossRef is supporting ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), an initiative with broad stakeholder support, to create an open, independent registry to uniquely identify researchers.

CrossRef is actively participating in ORCID to represent members’ interests. Howard Ratner from Nature is chairing the ORICD Technical Working Group and has been a key player in getting ORCID started. Howard is on the CrossRef board and was chair of our Technical Working Group for many years. The technical system for ORCID is relying heavily on the ideas developed by CrossRef’s Geoffrey Bilder, who is on the ORCID Technical Working Group and is also using technology donated by Thomson Reuters from their ResearcherID system. The ORCID Business Policy Working Group is being co-chaired by Craig Van Dyck from Wiley and Bernie Rous from ACM both of whom are also on the CrossRef board. CrossRef Executive Director Ed Pentz, is also on the Business Policy Working Group.

At its last meeting the CrossRef board adopted the following motion:

The Board supports the concept of ORCID as an independent organization.  The success of the ORCID project is of great interest to CrossRef, and CrossRef is prepared to respond to requests made by ORCID and its participants to provide support to the ORCID project.

CrossRef DOIs in Use: International Publishers Represent Fastest Growing Segment of CrossRef

In honor of our growing membership from publishers around the world, in this issue we are pleased to spotlight CrossRef DOIs in use by publishers from countries where we have many new members. shows an article in Turkish from IS, GUC (The Journal of Industrial Relations and Human Resources).

IS, GUC article landing page is an article from the Journal of Korean Medical Science on Synapse, which also provides a good example of using CrossRef Cited-by links.

KAMJE article


CrossCheck continues to grow, with 77 participating publishers and46,000 titles indexed. Many publishersCrossCheck Logo are rolling out plagiarism screening across their titles, and 4000 documents were checked usingiThenticate last month, with the number of checks rising steadily month on month.  Feedback from members is encouraging: 

“This is an invaluable tool and much appreciated by our Editors.”    
“In the long run it has saved enormous amounts of time.”

To learn more about how CrossCheck can benefit your publishing program, join us for a free introductory webinar.

Cool Tool: Embed CrossRef Metadata into PDFs with PDFMark

CrossRef Labs has released a tool that will allow publishers to easily embed CrossRef metadata into PDFs using the XMP standard. Why should you care? Well, PDF is widely regarded as a pretty “dumb” file format. That is, it sacrifices semantics in favor of display fidelity. But this doesn’t have to be the case. PDF has evolved over the past years and now supports the ability to embed semantic metadata into the PDF. Bibliographic management tools, search engines, text mining tools, and others can in turn use this metadata. The big advantage of embedding bibliographic metadata in the PDF is that the content and metadata are never separated. The PDF can be copied, emailed and archived, and it will always have its metadata with it.

We've released the PDFMark tool as an Open Source application in order to encourage publishers to integrate the process of adding PDF metadata into their workflows. Find more information about PDFMark at the CrossRef Labs site: And please let us know how you like it.

Absolutely Essential Publisher Practice: Deposit DOIs Before Releasing Them Publicly

End users have spoken, and some of what they say isn’t pretty. Though researchers value CrossRef DOIs, some complain that they don’t always work.

DOI error example

How does this happen? Too many CrossRef Member publishers distribute and/or display CrossRef DOIs—to authors, to readers, and to the media—before the metadata has been deposited and before the DOIs have actually been assigned in the system. Perhaps the publisher’s production workflow doesn’t allow enough time for the deposits before posting material to the web site. Perhaps journals are providing pre-publication articles (with DOIs) under press embargos. 

However it happens, the unpleasant (and unacceptable) result is broken DOI links, and it makes us crazy. Broken links are the number one problem CrossRef DOIs are supposed to solve. If a publisher makes DOIs available before they resolve, readers get the message that DOIs represent not persistent, stable links, but broken (and frustrating) links.

Remember, membership in CrossRef and your agreement to assign CrossRef DOIs to content represent not just a technical linking solution, but a social and organizational agreement. When all CrossRef members follow the rules, every member benefits from the robustness of the system. When some members publicize CrossRef DOIs that don’t work yet, the robust reputation for all CrossRef DOIs is damaged.

Please, make sure your metadata has been deposited and your links are working before releasing CrossRef DOIs.

Further Reading:
“DOIs and their discontents,” by John Timmer, Ars Technica

Ensure Your CrossRef Invoices Get Paid (and Recorded)

We have automated our billing system. Unless we hear otherwise from you, all invoices and collection notices will be sent by e-mail.

CrossRef bills most annual fees on January 1, though the invoices are sent in mid December for your convenience.  We bill deposit fees quarterly, at the end of March, June, September and December. Those invoices are sent up to a week following the quarter close.

If you have not received an annual invoice, please contact Lisa Hart at to ensure we have the correct billing contact information. Many members have past due invoices, and we want to make sure that the invoices are getting to the right person.

IMPORTANT Information on Paying via Wire Transfer: Please reference the invoice number and your organization's name when making a wire transfer. We receive numerous wires with no identification other than the country of origin.

Mark Your Calendars: November CrossRef Annual Meeting

CrossRef’s Annual Meeting will take place in the beautiful facilities at One Great George Street Westminster, London. The Technical Working Group meeting will be held on 15 November, and the Annual Meeting on 16 November. We’re putting together a program you will not want to miss. In the meantime, please make sure to save the date.

One Great George Street Interior

Sustainability and System Investment Enabled by Strong 2009 Financial Results

The unaudited CrossRef financial results for 2009 show strong results and support the long-term plan to have a sustainable business model while investing in improvements to the core system and new initiatives is on track.  Annual membership fees have not increased for the 4th year in a row, journal and conference proceedings fees have also remained unchanged while book chapter deposit fees saw some small increases. The System Rewrite of the query portion of the system is well underway and we are planning the next phase, which is updating the deposit part of the system later in 2010.

Dashboard Targets Q1 2010


Income Statement Q4 2009