In August 2022, the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memo (PDF) on ensuring free, immediate, and equitable access to federally funded research (a.k.a. the “Nelson memo”). Crossref is particularly interested in and relevant for the areas of this guidance that cover metadata and persistent identifiers—and the infrastructure and services that make them useful.
Funding bodies worldwide are increasingly involved in research infrastructure for dissemination and discovery.
Preprints have become an important tool for rapidly communicating and iterating on research outputs. There is now a range of preprint servers, some subject-specific, some based on a particular geographical area, and others linked to publishers or individual journals in addition to generalist platforms. In 2016 the Crossref schema started to support preprints and since then the number of metadata records has grown to around 16,000 new preprint DOIs per month.
TL;DR One of the things that makes me glad to work at Crossref is the principles to which we hold ourselves, and the most public and measurable of those must be the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure, or POSI, for short. These ambitions lay out how we want to operate - to be open in our governance, in our membership and also in our source code and data. And it’s that openness of source code that’s the reason for my post today - on 26th September 2022, our first collaboration with the JSON Forms open-source project was released into the wild.
Ans: metadata and services are all underpinned by POSI.
Leading into a blog post with a question always makes my brain jump ahead to answer that question with the simplest answer possible. I was a nightmare English Literature student. ‘Was Macbeth purely a villain?’ ‘No’. *leaves exam*
Just like not giving one-word answers to exam questions, playing our role in the integrity of the scholarly record and helping our members enhance theirs takes thought, explanation, transparency, and work.
Typically, when an editorially significant update is made to a document, the publisher will not modify the original document, but will instead issue a separate document (such as a correction or retraction notice) which explains the change. This separate document will have a different DOI from the document that it corrects and will there have different metadata.
In this example, article A (with the DOI 10.5555/12345678) is eventually retracted by a retraction notice RN (with the DOI 10.5555/24242424x). Each document has Crossmark metadata, but the fact that RN updates article A is only recorded in the RN’s Crossmark deposit. The Crossmark internal API has to tie the two documents together and indicate in metadata of the original document (A), that it has been updated_by the second document (RN).
Example 1: simple retraction
This is a simple example of article A being retracted by a retraction notice RN where both A and RN have Crossmark metadata deposited.
First, the PDF is produced and the XML deposited to Crossref.
This is a simple example of article B being corrected by a correction notice CN where both B and CN have Crossmark metadata deposited. The only real difference between this and the previous example is that we are creating a different kind of update.
When a member does not issue a separate update/correction/retraction notice and instead just makes the change to the document (without changing its DOI either), this is called an in-situ update. In-situ updates or corrections are not recommended because they tend to obscure the scholarly record. How do you tell what the differences are between what you downloaded and the update? How do you differentiate them when citing them (remember, we are only talking about “significant updates” here)? However, some members need to support in-situ updates, and this is how they can be supported.
Example 4: correction of article that has no Crossmark metadata deposited
If you deposit Crossmark metadata for a retraction or and update notice which, in turn, points at an article that does not have Crossmark metadata assigned to it, we will generate a “stub” Crossmark for the item being updated. The stub metadata will simply copy essential Crossmark metadata (crossmark_domains and domain_exclusive) from the updating metadata. This metadata can be queried via our API, but won’t activate anything on your site unless you add the Crossmark widget to the corresponding page of the item being updated.
Example 5: correction notice that corrected multiple documents
Sometimes members issue correction or clarification notices which provide corrections for multiple documents. This too can be supported by Crossmark. In the following example, one correction/clarification document provides updates to two documents (F and G)