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.
The ‘research nexus’ is the vision to which we aspire:
A rich and reusable open network of relationships connecting research organizations, people, things, and actions; a scholarly record that the global community can build on forever, for the benefit of society.
The research nexus goes beyond the basic idea of just having persistent identifiers for content. Objects and entities such as journal articles, book chapters, grants, preprints, data, software, statements, dissertations, protocols, affiliations, contributors, etc. should all be identified and that is still an important part of the picture. But what is most important is how they relate to each other and the context in which they make up the whole research ecosystem.
The foundation of the research nexus is metadata; the richer and more comprehensive the metadata in Crossref records, the more value there is for our members and for others, including for future generations.
Metadata and relationships between research objects and entities can support the whole scholarly research ecosystem in many ways, including:
Research integrity: helping to provide signals about the trustworthiness of the work including provenance information such as who funded it (when and for how much), which organizations and people contributed what, whether something was updated or corrected, and whether it was checked for originality. All of these signals can be expressed through Crossref metadata.
Reproducibility: helping others to reproduce outcomes by adding relationships between literature, data, software, protocols and methods, and more. All of these relationships can be asserted through members’ ongoing stewardship of their Crossref metadata records.
Reporting and assessment: helping organizations such as universities, funders, governments, to track and demonstrate the outcomes of investment; provide benchmarking information; show compliance with funder mandates; and decide what other research to fund. This kind of information can be included in Crossref metadata.
Discoverability: helping people and systems identify work through multiple angles. Registering content with Crossref makes it possible for work to be found and used. Thousands of systems use Crossref metadata, therefore the richer the records are, the more visibility there is likely to be of your work. Including metadata like abstracts and references are very simple ways to increase the visibility of your records.
The importance of relationships
A big part of the research nexus is establishing connections between and among different research objects which establishes provenance over time. Adding relationships to your metadata records can convey much richer and more nuanced connections beyond traditional references.
These relationships may consist of versions, corrections, translations, data, formats, supplements, and components. There are no extra fees for including relationships in your metadata.
What types of records can be registered with Crossref?
We are working to make our input schema more flexible so that almost any type of object can be registered and distributed openly through Crossref. At the moment, members tend to register the following: