The Crossref Curriculum

Cited-by

Cited-by shows how work has been received by the wider community; displaying the number of times it has been cited, and linking to the citing content.

Researchers cite other people’s work to acknowledge the material they used when writing their own paper. It’s useful to see which articles go on to cite the paper you’re reading, and how it may have built on or challenged its ideas.

Cited-by allows Crossref members to find out who is citing their content. Members can then display the counts and link to the citing content on their own work. Cited-by counts are publicly available, but only the member can see the details of which sources are citing their works.

Members who use this service are helping readers to:

  • easily navigate to related research,
  • see how the work has been received by the wider community, and
  • explore how ideas evolve over time by highlighting connections between works.

Watch the introductory Cited-by animation in your language: français; español; português do Brasil; 简体中文; 日本語; 한국어; العربية; bahasa Indonesia; or in English below.

 

How Cited-by works

Crossref members tell Crossref what content their papers are referencing by including that information as metadata when they register content. Users of the Cited-by service can then query that metadata to see which sources are citing their content.

To participate in Cited-by, you need to be a member, and you need to include references in your own metadata. Once you’re enabled for Cited-by, you you’ll able to query publications that cite your content. This allows for the display of citation counts and lists on articles so readers can see that the content they’re reading is being cited, as in this Australian Journal of Linguistics example:

Display of Cited-by count

Cited-by counts complement rather than replace other services, and may differ from those of other citation databases, such as Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science, which use a variety of sources for their citation data. Crossref Cited-by counts are based on the citation counts of other Crossref members participating in Cited-by.

Obligations and fees for Cited-by

  • Participation in Cited-by is optional
  • There is no charge for Cited-by
  • You must include references when you register content, in order to be eligible for Cited-by
  • You only retrieve Cited-by metadata for your own content
  • Our public APIs include Cited-by counts but not the actual works.

How to participate in Cited-by

Cited-by follows a simple three-step process:

  1. Members deposit references using the content registration service, and contact us to ask for the Cited-by service to be enabled on their prefix(es).
  2. We match the metadata in the references to DOIs to establish a Cited-by relationship in the database. As new content is registered, we automatically update the relationships and notify you of new links.
  3. Members and hosting platforms query relationships to retrieve Cited-by matches, and display the links on their website.

Best practice for Cited-by

  • Participation in Cited-by is optional, but encouraged
  • Because citations can happen at any time, Cited-by links must be kept up-to-date. Members should either check regularly for new citations or (if performing XML queries) set the alert attribute to true. This means the search will be saved in the system and you’ll get an alert when there is a new match
  • Once retrieved, Cited-by counts should be included and linked on your website.
Cited-by infographic

Download the Cited-by factsheet, and explore factsheets for other Crossref services and in different languages.

The Cited-by linking process in detail

  1. Member A registers DOI 10.1234/X for article X with the following metadata: Journal=Good Science, author=John Smith, volume=21, first page=100, year=2007
  2. Member B deposits metadata for article Y and assigns it DOI 10.5678/Y. The deposited references for article Y include the following:
<citation_list>
    <citation key="reference to article X">
         <author>Smith</author>
         <journal_title>Good Science</journal_title>
         <cYear>2007</cYear>
         <first_page>100</first_page>
         <volume>21</volume>
     </citation>
</citation_list>
  1. The Crossref system establishes a Cited-by relationship between articles X and Y
  2. Member A later sends a query asking who cites article X and is given the DOI for article Y and its metadata.

Currently only the member who owns an item may ask for the Cited-by data about that item. So in the example above, member C could not inquire about the Cited-by relationship of articles X or Y. The order of events may vary from what is shown in this simple example, for example, step 2 could occur before step 1. The Crossref system is set up to handle this by ‘remembering’ the citation in article Y and will establish the relationship whenever article X is ultimately deposited.

Last Updated: 2020 April 8 by Laura J. Wilkinson