About us

Our mission

Crossref makes research outputs easy to find, cite, link, assess, and reuse.

We’re a not-for-profit membership organization that exists to make scholarly communications better. We rally the community; tag and share metadata; run an open infrastructure; play with technology; and make tools and services—all to help put scholarly content in context.

It’s as simple—and as complicated—as that.


Getting the community working together to make scholarly communications better


Structuring, processing, and sharing metadata to reveal relationships between research outputs


Operating a shared, open infrastructure that is community-governed and evolves with changing needs


Engaging in debate and experimenting with technology to solve our members’ problems


Creating tools and services to enable connections and give context

What we stand for

These are the Crossref ‘truths’, the principles that guide everything we do. Read our truths page, with full descriptions for each.

  1. Come one, come all
  2. Smart alone, brilliant together
  3. One member, one vote
  4. Love metadata, love technology
  5. What you see, what you get
  6. Here today, here tomorrow

How we started

We started in January 2000 with one employee, Ed Pentz, as Executive Director. Read about our history in Ed’s words. Since we started we’ve grown to (as of 2019) thirty eight people, 17166 members, coming from over 120 countries.

Read our background story, with an overview of our current services, in this document:

Read or download this background story as a PDF in English, Spanish or Brazilian Portuguese.

How we are supported

We are a not-for-profit organization, registered in the United States of America as a 501(c)6 (a “trade association”). We are sustained by annual membership fees that are tiered according to size of publishing revenue. We also charge a Content Registration fee for each item of content whose metadata is deposited with us. We also provide both free and paid-for metadata retrieval options for access to this metadata.

Members can and do participate in many ways and contribute to our global network of linked scholarly content.

We are governed by sixteen of our members that form our board serving three-year terms. We invite from each of the elected sixteen organizations, one main person as board member, and one alternate person. We also have other committees that help us set fees and policies, audit us, and an Executive Committee that meets more regularly and supports the Executive Director in making some decisions.

You can read more about our finances and governance as well as what we worked on most recently, by viewing our annual report.

We are accredited in handing your data

Crossref was awarded the SOC 2® accreditation in 2017 after an independent assessment of our controls and procedures by the American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA).

The SOC 2® accreditation is awarded to service organizations that have passed standard trust services criteria relating to the security, availability, and processing integrity of systems used to process users’ data and the confidentiality and privacy of the information processed by these systems.

The AICPA’s assessment also reviewed our vendor management programs, internal corporate governance and risk management processes, and regulatory oversight.

Find out more about the SOC accreditation structure

Please contact our outreach team with any questions.

Last Updated: 2018 July 12