Who is Crossref?
You may be wondering, why do we ask who rather than what? It’s because, as this insightful Scholarly Kitchen post explains, Crossref is built on cooperation between publishers and other stakeholders in the scholarly communications space, all of whom have contributed to and benefited from the organization’s dedication to collaboration around metadata.
Founded in 2000, Crossref today has many fingers in many pies, but one of the biggest and best known, as well as Crossref’s original raison d’être, is our focus in this post: DOIs and bibliographic reference linking.
Only a few years after publishers began putting their content online in the 1990s, they discovered that “link rot” (the gradual increase in no-longer-functional URLs over time) was a real problem. When authors used direct URLs in bibliographies, those URLs had a habit of going stale, or returning “page not found” errors, with unfortunate speed. The digital object identifier (DOI) was conceived to eliminate this problem by creating a persistent identifier that could be assigned to objects (in this case, scholarly works) and a system (the DOI system) that allows updating of the most current URL for any given object associated with a DOI. So whenever you can use a persistent identifier (PID), such as a DOI, you should!
Crossref & Inera
In this post, we’ll highlight some of the ways we work together, as well as some great resources Crossref has created for end users, including publishers, journal editors, and contributors.
Why is reference linking important?
If you are, or your client is, a member of Crossref, including outbound DOI links in the reference lists you publish is part of the membership obligation.
But even if you aren’t a member, reference linking strengthens the scholarly infrastructure and readers will expect links in material published online, so you should link reference entries whenever possible. It’s this kind of infrastructure that makes possible new initiatives like the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC).
Using DOI links helps you minimize link rot in your publications. When other publications link to DOIs you’ve deposited for your content, and vice versa, these links drive traffic to the version of record. Finally, DOI links help ensure that authors get credit for all citations of their work, as well as building the citation record for participants in Crossref’s Cited-by program.
I’m convinced! Now, how do I add DOIs to my references?
Crossref’s video Get Started with Reference Linking explains not only why reference linking matters but also a number of ways to make it happen, including
- Requiring authors to provide DOIs for the sources they cite
- Using Crossref’s XML API or REST API
- Using OpenURL
- Using Crossref’s Simple Text Query (based on eXtyles
As Crossref points out, the easiest way to add DOI links to your reference list is to get someone to do it for you. But outsourcing this work can sometimes create challenges for scheduling and quality control. Using eXtyles or Edifix is a very effective way to get the best aspects of both: you can maintain control over the process by keeping it in-house, managed by your own editorial staff, while “outsourcing” the work of searching and matching to our patented “fuzzy matching” algorithms.
How eXtyles and Edifix work with Crossref data
eXtyles does many things—from basic document cleanup to exporting high-quality XML—but one of its most popular features is the suite of reference processing tools, which also power the Edifix cloud solution.
eXtyles Reference Processing identifies the elements of each reference entry (including author surname/s, article or chapter title, journal or book title, volume/issue/page numbers, and publication date) and applies tagging according to the JATS reference model. Journal titles are also checked against our extensive (and continually updated) databases and corrected where necessary.
Once that’s done, the Crossref Linking & Correction module uses these tagged elements to search the Crossref database for matching metadata and returns any DOI links it finds, as well as flagging discrepancies between the author’s reference entry and the Crossref metadata—perhaps an article’s final page number is different, or the order of authors is not quite right, or the volume number and the year don’t match—using a comment.
And in case you were wondering, eXtyles and Edifix do this for more than just references to journal articles. Reference Processing identifies elements of references to books, book chapters, and conference proceedings, allowing our Crossref module to query Crossref for DOIs to these content types as well.
Some of our customers have in-house or freelance editorial staff investigate these discrepancies; others require authors to do so. In either case, using eXtyles or Edifix to insert DOI links from Crossref divides up the work in the most efficient way, leaving repetitive searching, matching, and linking to the software and in-depth investigation to the human brains!
For more informative videos from Crossref, check out their video library!
To learn more about how eXtyles can help you make the most of Crossref DOIs, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.