URLs and DOIs: a complicated relationship

As the linking hub for scholarly content, it’s our job to tame URLs and put in their place something better. Why? Most URLs suffer from link rot and can be created, deleted or changed at any time. And that’s a problem if you’re trying to cite them.

Getting ready to run with preprints, any day now

While preprints have been a formal part of scholarly communications for decades in certain communities, they have not been fully adopted to date across most disciplines or systems. That may be changing very soon and quite rapidly, as new initiatives come thick and fast from researchers, funders, and publishers alike. This flurry of activity points to the realization from these parties of preprints’ potential benefits:

A fairer approach to waiting for deposits

If you ever see me in the checkout line at some store do not ever get in the line I’m in. It is always the absolute slowest.

Crossref’s metadata system has a sort of checkout line, when members send in their data they got processed essentially in a first come first served basis. It’s called the deposit queue. We had controls to prevent anyone from monopolizing the queue and ways to jump forward in the queue but our primary goal was to give everyone a fair shot at getting processed as soon as possible. With many different behaviors by our members this could often be a challenge and at times some folks were not 100% happy.

Hello preprints, what’s your story?

The role of preprints

Crossref provides infrastructure services and therefore we support scholarly communications as it evolves over time. Today, preprints are increasingly discussed as a valuable part of the research story (beyond physics, math, and a small set of sub-disciplines). Preprints might play a positive role in catalyzing research discovery, establishing priority of discoveries and ideas, facilitating career advancement, and improving the culture of communication within the scholarly community.

Community responses to our proposal for early content registration


We will proceed with implementing the proposed support for registering content before online availability. Adopting the workflow will be optional and will involve no extra fees.


At the end of January, Crossref issued a “request for community comment” on a proposed new process to support the registration of content including DOIs before online availability. We promised that we would summarize the results of the survey once we had received and analyzed all the responses.

Support for Crossref implementing the proposed new workflow was overwhelming. Of the 104 responses, 90 were positive, 7 were neutral and 7 were negative. As such we will proceed to make the necessary changes to better support registering content before online availability. We aim to enable this functionality in the second half of 2016.

We received survey responses varying in length from one or two sentences to multiple pages. A lot of the responses also interspersed questions and observations about entirely different issues that were of interest to respondents. As such, it has taken a while for us to analyze the results. We also found it was pretty much impossible for us to tabulate a summary of the responses to the direct questions. Instead we’ll summarize the responses at a high level and then drill down into some of the nuances in the answers and issues that were raised from the responses.

Request for Community Comment: registering content before online availability

Crossref is proposing a process to support the registration of content—including DOIs and other metadata—prior to that content being made available, or published, online. We’ve drafted a paper providing background on the reasons we want to support this and highlighting the use cases. One of the main needs is in journal publishing to support registration of Accepted Manuscripts immediately on or shortly after acceptance, and dealing with press embargoes.

Proposal doc for community comment

Proposal doc for community comment

_We request community comment on the __proposed approach as outlined in this report._