Linking data

Crossref members deposit data & software links by adding them directly into the standard metadata deposit via relation type and/or references. This is part of the existing content registration process.

You can add these links to your metadata in one of two ways, via the relationships type or in your reference lists.


We maintain an expansive set of relationship types to support the various content items that a research object, like a journal article, might link to. For data and software, we ask members to provide the following information:

  • identifier of the dataset/software
  • identifier type: “DOI”, “Accession”, “PURL”, “ARK”, “URI”, “Other” *
  • relationship type: “isSupplementedBy” or “references” (use the former if it was generated as part of the research results).
  • description of dataset or software.
  • *Additional identifier types beyond those used for data or software are also accepted, including ARXIV, ECLI, Handle, ISSN, ISBN, PMID, PMCID, and UUID.

Both Crossref and DataCite employ this method of linking. Data repositories who register their content with DataCite follow the same process and apply the same metadata tags. This means that we achieve direct data interoperability with links in the reverse direction (data and software repositories to journal articles).

You can see illustrations and examples of this schema in our Data & Software Citation guide.


Another mechanism for depositing data and software citations is to insert it into the manuscript’s reference metadata. To do so, publishers follow the general process for depositing references.

Publishers can deposit the full data or software citation as a unstructured reference, or they can employ any number of reference tags currently accepted by Crossref. It’s always best to include the DOI (either DataCite or Crossref) for the dataset if possible.

We are discussing potential data citation changes to fit our ideal best practice, and welcome additional suggestions from the community.

Scholix Participation

The goal of the Scholix initiative is to establish a high level interoperability framework for exchanging information about the links between scholarly literature and data. Crossref members can participate by sharing article-data links by including them in their deposited metadata as references and/or relation type as described above.

If the reference metadata you are registering with Crossref uses Crossref or DataCite DOIs, the linkage between the publications/data is handled by Crossref - nothing more is needed.

If the data (or other research objects) uses DOIs from another source, or a different type of persistent identifier, then you need to create a relationship type record instead. This method also allows for the linkage of other research objects.

Scholix API Endpoint

The Event Data service implements a Scholix endpoint in the API:

A subset of relevant Events (from the ‘crossref’ and ‘datacite’ sources) is available at this endpoint. The filter parameters are the same as specified in the Query API. The response format uses the Scholix schema.

There are links to Scholix Community materials for more information, or you can contact our technical support specialists with questions.

Last Updated: 2018 July 3 by Rachael Lammey