In the scholarly communications environment, the evolution of a journal article can be traced by the relationships it has with its preprints. Those preprint–journal article relationships are an important component of the research nexus. Some of those relationships are provided by Crossref members (including publishers, universities, research groups, funders, etc.) when they deposit metadata with Crossref, but we know that a significant number of them are missing. To fill this gap, we developed a new automated strategy for discovering relationships between preprints and journal articles and applied it to all the preprints in the Crossref database. We made the resulting dataset, containing both publisher-asserted and automatically discovered relationships, publicly available for anyone to analyse.
The second half of 2023 brought with itself a couple of big life changes for me: not only did I move to the Netherlands from India, I also started a new and exciting job at Crossref as the newest Community Engagement Manager. In this role, I am a part of the Community Engagement and Communications team, and my key responsibility is to engage with the global community of scholarly editors, publishers, and editorial organisations to develop sustained programs that help editors to leverage rich metadata.
STM, DataCite, and Crossref are pleased to announce an updated joint statement on research data.
In 2012, DataCite and STM drafted an initial joint statement on the linkability and citability of research data. With nearly 10 million data citations tracked, thousands of repositories adopting data citation best practices, thousands of journals adopting data policies, data availability statements and establishing persistent links between articles and datasets, and the introduction of data policies by an increasing number of funders, there has been significant progress since.
Have you attended any of our annual meeting sessions this year? Ah, yes – there were many in this conference-style event. I, as many of my colleagues, attended them all because it is so great to connect with our global community, and hear your thoughts on the developments at Crossref, and the stories you share.
Let me offer some highlights from the event and a reflection on some emergent themes of the day.
The ‘research nexus’ is the vision to which we aspire:
A rich and reusable open network of relationships connecting research organizations, people, things, and actions; a scholarly record that the global community can build on forever, for the benefit of society.
The research nexus goes beyond the basic idea of just having persistent identifiers for content. Objects and entities such as journal articles, book chapters, grants, preprints, data, software, statements, dissertations, protocols, affiliations, contributors, etc. should all be identified and that is still an important part of the picture. But what is most important is how they relate to each other and the context in which they make up the whole research ecosystem.
The foundation of the research nexus is metadata; the richer and more comprehensive the metadata in Crossref records, the more value there is for our members and for others, including for future generations.
Metadata and relationships between research objects and entities can support the whole scholarly research ecosystem in many ways, including:
Research integrity: helping to provide signals about the trustworthiness of the work including provenance information such as who funded it (when and for how much), which organizations and people contributed what, whether something was updated or corrected, and whether it was checked for originality. All of these signals can be expressed through Crossref metadata.
Reproducibility: helping others to reproduce outcomes by adding relationships between literature, data, software, protocols and methods, and more. All of these relationships can be asserted through members’ ongoing stewardship of their Crossref metadata records.
Reporting and assessment: helping organizations such as universities, funders, governments, to track and demonstrate the outcomes of investment; provide benchmarking information; show compliance with funder mandates; and decide what other research to fund. This kind of information can be included in Crossref metadata.
Discoverability: helping people and systems identify work through multiple angles. Registering content with Crossref makes it possible for work to be found and used. Thousands of systems use Crossref metadata, therefore the richer the records are, the more visibility there is likely to be of your work. Including metadata like abstracts and references are very simple ways to increase the visibility of your records.
The importance of relationships
A big part of the research nexus is establishing connections between and among different research objects which establishes provenance over time. Adding relationships to your metadata records can convey much richer and more nuanced connections beyond traditional references.
These relationships may consist of versions, corrections, translations, data, formats, supplements, and components. There are no extra fees for including relationships in your metadata.
What types of records can be registered with Crossref?
We are working to make our input schema more flexible so that almost any type of object can be registered and distributed openly through Crossref. At the moment, members tend to register the following: