If you’re connected with scholarly publishing in any way, you’ll probably have heard of or seen something from Crossref. If you haven’t, some of my colleagues would argue that’s a good thing - we’re a not-for-profit membership organisation that provides infrastructure for research, to help make it easier to find, cite, link and assess - and if that infrastructure breaks then things become more difficult…
We have around 8,400 members, many of whom are publishers who register their content with Crossref to let readers know it exists. They do that by providing metadata about the piece of content they are registering, plus persistent Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) which don’t change even if the content moves to a new location on the web. We’ve now registered content for nearly 90 million journal articles, books, conference proceedings, dissertations, datasets, preprints, standards and more. And it’s not just bibliographic metadata (title, authors, ISSNs), we also collect information on who funded the research, the license it’s published under, and author ORCID iDs, all of which helps facilitate discovery and reuse.
We have members putting data into Crossref, but we also have thousands of entities - affiliates and other organisations - extracting and making use of that data via their own tools and services - and we wanted to make it easier for them to do so. We’ve always had ways to give people that metadata in bulk, but in 2012 we built an Application Programming Interface (API) to make it easier for other systems to integrate and query publication information in real-time in their own systems.
In 2015 we met with the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) and told them they’d be free to use our REST API to see if it was something they could use in the Digital Content Store (DCS) to provide accurate metadata on publications and help streamline reporting workflows for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Thankfully it was suitable for their needs and has been integrated to query the growing number of records and increasing volume of metadata that our members are providing.
The next few years will see us working with publishers to improve the completeness and accuracy of the metadata they provide. More, richer metadata will serve to further benefit those using Crossref metadata in their tools and services, and the users of the services themselves.
About the Author: Rachael works in Member & Community Outreach at Crossref
If you enjoyed this blog, then why not check out our case study on using the Crossref API with the DCS?