Crossref, like ORCID, is a crucial bit of the scholarly communication infrastructure—a non-profit that, in effect, assigns a unique ID to each and every scholarly work. It’s ORCID for publications, and the IDs it provides are the ubiquitious Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) that link to publisher-hosted scholarship. The group, like ORCID, CLOCKSS, and Crossref’s sister organization DataCite, is based on, and funded through, memberships. Crossref boasts over 10,000 members from more than 100 countries; in exchange for membership, you can register works and deposit related metadata, and thereby generate DOIs for your content.
It’s a service, but also an obligation: Membership, Crossref states, “comes with a bit of work on your end. Crossref members make every effort to improve the quality and completeness of metadata.” They provide the DOI prefix—the alphanumeric string that starts off each publisher’s or outlet’s DOIs—and depend on member-publishers to supply accurate and complete metadata.
Like the other infrastructural services, member fees are on a sliding scale. Annual membership for presses with less than $1 million in revenue (!) is $275. There are also small per-item registration fees; a journal article, for example, requires $1 payment for registration, with volume discounts available. Beginning this year, Crossref has started waiving the first $50 of those per-item deposit fees for the lowest-tier publishers.
Membership also includes access to Security Check, an anti-plagiarism screener based on Turnitin, though this service requires another $55 in annual fees and per-item charges. And Crosscheck’s Crossmark service is included too; it’s an update tracker whose logo you’ve probably seen on article pdfs. Though there’s no annual fee for Crossmark, there are per-item charges.
Crossref maintains a helpful “Advice for small publishers” page. (“If you publish one journal or thousands, you’re welcome to join our growing community.”) Crossref notes that it’s possible to work through a Sponsoring Organization—a third-party that handles billing and other administrative support (presumably for a fee). The page also includes a plain-English description of how content registration (i.e., submitting your published items’ metadata to Crossref) works, including a link to the organization’s web form (which can generate the necessary XML). They also include an exhortation to publishers like mediastudies.press to require authors to include DOI links in their reference lists.
The membership application is straightforward and even user-friendly, though it does require three separate contacts. Once submitted, the application is reviewed; we will update this post once we hear from Crossref.
Update July 2018: The Crossref team followed up with a detailed membership agreement—a formal enumeration of the organization’s member obligations. The agreement gets returned by email, and should be followed, within a few days, by a pro-rated invoice.
Update August 2018: We heard back from Crossref a few days later, with a pro-rated invoice for just over $91 for the remainder of the year. So our expectation is that the full-year membership for a startup nonprofit like ours is about $275. With the invoice paid, Crossref followed up with core information—including our login credentials and, crucially, our DOI prefix (10.32376!). The email also linked to a 25-minute walk-through of the DOI registration—a process that can be handled in a few different ways.
mediastudies.press is not yet ready to register any DOIs, but we still wanted to add our Crossref information to our journal platform. Janeway supports Crossref out of the box, with ready-made fields to record all the relevant information. DOIs are automatically generated according the DOI “suffix pattern” you choose, and they’re auto-registered too upon publication. Manifold, our long-form platform, does not have the same baked-in support for auto-generated DOIs, which makes sense: It’s not designed for serial publication.
Manifold, instead, offers a per-item DOI field. In setting up the Janeway process, or in planning for the Manifold DOI assignment, it’s important to put some thought into the suffix pattern—the alphanumeric string that follows each publisher’s established prefix. Crossref members can choose their own patterns, but the organization does offer some recommended principles—like concision and consistency—as well as examples suffix patterns with helpful explanations. We will follow a fairly standard format for History of Media Studies, our first journal, with a journal initial, followed by Janeway’s auto-generated article identifier: 10.32376/hms.237. For “singles” published on Manifold, we plan to incorporate the 13-digit ISBN, with a pattern, for example, like this: 10.32376/msp.978-0345455826. Both Janeway and Manifold helpfully prepend the url prefix “https://doi.org/“ so that DOIs on PDF downloads or exported citations will include the stable Crossref url that will persistently resolve to the official article page.