The membership boom & why metadata isn’t like beer

You might recognize my name if you’ve ever applied for Crossref membership on behalf of your organization. It recently occurred to me that, since I’ve been working in our membership department for eight years, I’ve been a part of shepherding new members for half of our history. And my, how we’ve grown.

Membership growth by country

Though it may be easy to see our membership growth by looking at the numbers, I think it’s interesting to consider where we’ve grown.  The top ten member countries have dramatically changed since Crossref began sixteen years ago.  At the end of our first year of operations, our membership included 54 publishers and affiliated organizations.  The majority were from the US and the UK, with a small number from Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan.

In 2012, participation in our sponsoring organizations program began to increase. Sponsors are affiliated organizations that act on behalf of smaller publishers and societies who wish to register their content with Crossref.  Several organizations from Turkey and South Korea were among the first sponsors to join and were very successful in representing a large number of publishers and societies from their regions. Soon to follow were sponsors from India, Ukraine, Russia and Brazil. In 2014, the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) became a sponsoring affiliate, focusing on smaller publishers with the aim of increasing the quality and global reach of scholarly publishing.  With the introduction of our sponsor program, the past few years have seen a steady increase in the geographical diversity of our members.  

There are 194 countries in the world.  It’s pretty amazing that organizations in 112 of the world’s countries are now represented in our membership. Do I think we’ll see members joining from the other 82 nations? I don’t know but I hope so.

A look at our trending nations chart shows the diversity of our membership as we’ve grown, depicting the countries that produced the most new members over the last two years.  There has been tremendous growth from South Korea! What I find just as interesting is that we have new members from so many different nations that they form their own special bloc, shown here as “Other.” 

Our growth has taken place at a remarkable rate.  When I joined Crossref in 2008, we had over 1800 publishers and affiliates and we were adding about 300 new members per year.  In 2015, nearly 1500 members joined and we are seeing even larger numbers so far in 2016.  Counting all publishers, affiliates, libraries, sponsoring organizations and represented members, our new member total through the end of August is nearly 1200 and will most certainly overtake the 2015 figure.  

Member perceptions

With such a range of new members each month it’s even more important that we help people understand the benefits of joining Crossref.  That it’s not just registering metadata and DOIs but maintaining and improving records over time, and participating in reference linking.  We are adding and improving some educational tools that will help everyone understand how our services can enhance the discoverability of content, and why sharing richer metadata supports their full participation in the scholarly community.  We are in the process of developing a new, cleaner website with videos that better explain our services–to be released in the next few weeks,–a new onboarding experience, and new and improved query and deposit tools. 

Connected metadata isn’t like beer 

Sometimes inviting more people to a party means there is less beer to go around.  Fortunately for everyone, metadata isn’t like beer. In fact, the more metadata you draw from the tap, the more useful it becomes.  So inviting new members to join Crossref makes our community better and more valuable for everyone.  Every member uses that metadata to link their content to every other member’s content.  This makes all members’ content easier to find, link, and cite, not just at the moment it is published, but over time.   

Members from around the globe join Crossref everyday and help guide our growing community.  If you are interested in joining please contact me at

Crossmark 2.0 – grab the code and you’re ready to go!

On September 1st we completed the final stage of the Crossmark v2.0 release and sent an email to all participating publishers containing instructions for upgrading. The first phase of v2.0 happened when we changed the design and layout of the Crossmark box back in May of this year. That allowed us to better display the growing set of additional metadata that our members are depositing, and saw the introduction of the Linked Clinical Trials feature.


Now all publishers have the opportunity to complete the upgrade by simply replacing the Crossmark button and the piece of code that calls the box. The new button designs are, we think, a much better fit for most websites, and are designed to look more like a button than a flat logo. The new buttons are also available
as .eps
files for placement in PDFs.
Continue reading “Crossmark 2.0 – grab the code and you’re ready to go!”

Using the Crossref Metadata API. Part 2 (with PaperHive)

We first met the team from PaperHive at SSP in June, pointed them in the direction of the Crossref Metadata API and let things progress from there. That’s the nice thing about having an API – because it’s a common and easy way for developers to access and use metadata, it makes it possible to use with lots of diverse systems and services.

So how are things going? Alexander Naydenov, PaperHive’s Co-founder gives us an update on how they’re working with the Crossref metadata:

Continue reading “Using the Crossref Metadata API. Part 2 (with PaperHive)”

Linking Publications to Data and Software


Crossref and Datacite provide a service to link publications and data. The easiest way for Crossref members to participate in this is to cite data using DataCite DOIs and to include them in the references within the metadata deposit. These data citations are automatically detected. Alternatively and/or additionally, Crossref members can deposit data citations (regardless of identifier) as a relation type in the metadata. Data & software citations from both methods are freely propagated. This blog post also describes how to retrieve the links collected between publication and data & software. Continue reading “Linking Publications to Data and Software”

Crossref’s Annual Meeting is now Crossref LIVE16

Everyone is invited to our free annual event this 1-2 November in London. (Register here)

In years past, only Crossref members typically attended the Crossref Annual Meeting. This year, we looked at the event with new eyes. We realized that we’d have even richer conversations, more creative energy, and the meeting would be even better for our members if we could rally the entire community together.  So we decided to re-develop our annual event from the ground-up. 

Logo for Crossref LIVE 16

The result is Crossref LIVE16, an event with a new format and a new focus on the entirety of the scholarly communications community.  We are opening doors for the whole community, welcoming publishers, librarians, researchers, funders, technology providers, and Crossref members alike.  Continue reading “Crossref’s Annual Meeting is now Crossref LIVE16”

Announcing PIDapalooza – a festival of identifiers

sideAThe buzz is building around PIDapalooza – the first open festival of scholarly research persistent identifiers (PID), to be held at the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel Reykjavik on November 9-10, 2016.

PIDapalooza will bring together creators and users of PIDs from around the world to shape the future PID landscape through the development of tools and services for the research community. PIDs support proper attribution and credit, promote collaboration and reuse, enable reproducibility of findings, foster faster and more efficient progress, and facilitate effective sharing, dissemination, and linking of scholarly works. Continue reading “Announcing PIDapalooza – a festival of identifiers”

Preprints and Crossref’s metadata services

We’re putting the final touches on the changes that will allow preprint publishers to register their metadata with Crossref and assign DOIs. These changes support Crossref’s CitedBy linking between the preprint and other scholarly publications (journal articles, books, conference proceedings). Full preprint support will be released over the next few weeks.

Continue reading “Preprints and Crossref’s metadata services”

The article nexus: linking publications to associated research outputs

Crossref began its service by linking publications to other publications via references. Today, this extends to relationships with associated entities. People (authors, reviewers, editors, other collaborators), funders, and research affiliations are important players in this story. Other metadata also figure prominently in it as well: references, licenses and access indicators, publication history (updates, revisions, corrections, retractions, publication dates), clinical trial and study information, etc. The list goes on. Continue reading “The article nexus: linking publications to associated research outputs”

Using the Crossref Metadata API. Part 1 (with Authorea)

Did you know that we have a shiny, not so new, API kicking around? If you missed Geoffrey’s post in 2014 (or don’t want a Cyndi Lauper song stuck in your head all day), the short explanation is that the Crossref Metadata API exposes the information that publishers provide Crossref when they register their content with us. And it’s not just the bibliographic metadata either–funding and licensing information, full-text links (useful for text-mining), ORCID iDs and update information (via CrossMark)–are all available, if included in the publishers’ metadata.

Interested? This is the kickoff a series of case studies on the innovative and interesting things people are doing with the Metadata API. Welcome to Part 1. Continue reading “Using the Crossref Metadata API. Part 1 (with Authorea)”