Transferring titles

We enforce the concept of ownership for the content you register through us. If you ‘own’ a title, you are the member with permissions and responsibilities for creating metadata for that title. We control ownership using the DOI prefix. A single DOI prefix may be applied to a single title, a single publisher, or to a number of publishers (via a sponsoring member arrangement). This means that a member with prefix 10.1234 is the only member allowed to create identifiers for a title owned by that prefix. If a title is acquired by a member with prefix 10.5678, we can move the title ownership to prefix 10.5678.

Title ownership may change if:

  • a title is acquired by a different publisher
  • there is a change in publishing partner
  • there is a change in hosting platform

Title versus DOI ownership

Ownership may be applied to titles and/or to individual records. Typically when a title is acquired by a publisher, existing content is also acquired. We move ownership of the existing records as well as the title to the acquiring publisher. This allows the acquiring member to update existing records registered with the previous owner’s prefix. This ownership change does not change the actual prefix of the DOI, it only affects permissions associated with updating the metadata and URLs. If the DOI 10.12345678 is acquired by a member and assigned to prefix 10.5678, then the DOI will continue to be 10.12345678 but the member responsible for prefix 10.5678 is able to update the metadata record for 10.12345678.

We can also assign ownership to individual records within a title. This is often necessary when content ownership or hosting responsibility is assigned to different chunks of content. For example, current issues of Journal A may be published by a member with prefix 10.1234. Issues of Journal A published prior to 2010 are hosted and maintained by a member with prefix 10.5678. Journal A is owned by prefix 10.1234, but the member with prefix 10.5678 retains control of the back issue DOIs owned by prefix 10.5678.

Note: If you do not wish to transfer all existing DOIs as part of your title transfer, please contact support to assist with your title transfer.

Establishing and transferring ownership

We allow members to freely register records for titles that do not exist in our system. When the first content registration submission is processed, a title record is added to our database and ownership is assigned to the submitting prefix. If the ownership of a title changes, we’ll need to intervene to allow the new owner to assume responsibility for the title.

Here are the basic steps involved in transferring ownership:

  1. Notify us of the transfer. If a title transfer has been posted to the Enhanced Transfer Alerting Service (ETAS) or ISSN portal, let us know and we’ll proceed with the transfer without further confirmation. Members who do not participate in Transfer, are unable to confirm via the ISSN portal, or cannot use Metadata Manager, must send confirmation that the disposing publisher is aware of and agrees with the ownership transfer. The confirmation may be a forwarded email from the disposing publisher to the acquiring publisher acknowledging the transfer. Please be specific about what is being transferred - include ISSNs, ISBNs, and when you need the transfer to occur (if applicable).

  2. Once we’ve confirmed the transfer, we’ll update the ownership of your title in our system.

  3. At this point you’ll be able to update existing metadata records and create new ones. If the metadata supplied by the previous publisher is complete and accurate you’ll only need to supply us with new URLs to direct records to your content.

It’s also important to remember that we bill for deposits quarterly, so any DOIs that were registered in the previous quarter will be billed to the owner of those DOIs at the quarter’s end. Thus, acquiring publishers may be financially responsible for DOIs recently registered by the disposing publisher. If you have questions about this policy, please let us know before the title transfer.

Dispute resolution

Title ownership may come into dispute when an organization is not legally recognized as the publication owner and is registering content under agreement with the publication owner. In all cases we’ll abide by the publication owner’s directions concerning the disposition of the DOI names associated with their titles. If the publication owner enacts a transfer that negatively impacts another organization, the organization must find remediation with the publication owner.

DOI ownership may also come into dispute when two members claim ownership of a single publication. As described above, the ‘owning’ member is the first depositor and acquires the ability to continue depositing DOI names for that title. The ‘disputing’ member is denied the ability to deposit and initiates the following resolution process:

  1. The disputing member will notify us of the problem - an email to is sufficient.
  2. We’ll contact the owning member informing them of the problem
  3. If the owning member agrees that their ownership is incorrect or does not respond with 5 business days Crossref will assign title and record ownership to the disputing member.
  4. If the owning member challenges the claim, we’ll request that the two parties resolve the issue and submit joint instructions on how to disposition ownership.
  5. If joint resolution is not achieved within 30 days Crossref will suspend the owning member’s ability to deposit new DOI names for the publication.
  6. If joint resolution is not achieved within 60 days Crossref will modify the appropriate DOI names to a landing page indicating that ownership is in dispute.

At any time during joint resolution deliberation Crossref will accept direction from legal authority specifying how to establish ownership.

Last Updated: 2017 January 17 by Patricia Feeney