Quality metadata is foundational to the research nexus and all Crossref services. When inaccuracies creep in, these create problems that get compounded down the line. No wonder that reports of metadata errors from authors, members, and other metadata users are some of the most common messages we receive into the technical support team (we encourage you to continue to report these metadata errors).
We make members’ metadata openly available via our APIs, which means people and machines can incorporate it into their research tools and services - thus, we all want it to be accurate.
The other day I was out and about and got into a conversation with someone who asked me about my doctoral work in English literature. I’ve had the same conversation many times: I tell someone (only if they ask!) that my dissertation was a history of the villanelle, and then they cheerfully admit that they don’t know what a villanelle is, and then I ask them if they’re familiar with Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do not go gentle into that good night.
Having joined the Crossref team merely a week previously, the mid-year community update on June 14th was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the Research Nexus vision. We explored its building blocks and practical implementation steps within our reach, and within our imagination of the future.
Read on (or watch the recording) for a whistlestop tour of everything – from what on Earth is Research Nexus, through to how it’s taking shape at Crossref, to how you are involved, and finally – to what concerns the community surrounding the vision and how we’re going to address that.
TL;DR A year ago, we announced that we were putting the “R” back in R&D. That was when Rachael Lammey joined the R&D team as the Head of Strategic Initiatives.
And now, with Rachael assuming the role of Product Director, I’m delighted to announce that Dominika Tkaczyk has agreed to take over Rachael’s role as the Head of Strategic Initiatives. Of course, you might already know her.
We will also immediately start recruiting for a new Principal R&D Developer to work with Esha and Dominika on the R&D team.
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)