2020 wasn’t all bad. In April of last year, we released our first public data file. Though Crossref metadata is always openly available––and our board recently cemented this by voting to adopt the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI)––we’ve decided to release an updated file. This will provide a more efficient way to get such a large volume of records. The file (JSON records, 102.6GB) is now available, with thanks once again to Academic Torrents.
Our colleague and friend, Kirsty Meddings, passed away peacefully on 10th December at home with her family, after a sudden and aggressive cancer. She was a huge part of Crossref, our culture, and our lives for the last twelve years.
Kirsty Meddings is a name that almost everyone in scholarly publishing knows; she was part of a generation of Oxford women in publishing technology who have progressed through the industry, adapted to its changes, spotted new opportunities, and supported each other throughout.
Crossref has supported depositing metadata for preprints since 2016 and peer reviews since 2018. Now we are putting the two together, in fact we will permit peer reviews to be registered for any content type.
2020 has been a very challenging year, and we can all agree that everyone needs a break. Crossref will be providing very limited technical and membership support from 21st December to 3rd January to allow our staff to rest and recharge. We’ll be back on January 4th raring to answer your questions. Amanda explains more about why we made this decision.
Many researchers want to carry out analysis and extraction of information from large sets of data, such as journal articles and other scholarly content. Methods such as screen-scraping are error-prone, place too much strain on content sites and may be unrepeatable or break if site layouts change. Providing researchers with automated access to the full-text content via DOIs and Crossref metadata reduces these problems, allowing for easy deduplication and reproducibility. Supporting text and data mining echoes our mission to make research outputs easy to find, cite, link, assess, and reuse.
In 2013 Crossref embarked on a project to better support Crossref members and researchers with Text and Data Mining requests and access. There were two main parts to the project:
To collect and make available full-text links and publisher TDM license links in the metadata.
To provide a service (TDM click-through service) for Crossref members to post their additional TDM terms and conditions and for researchers to access, review and accept these terms.
To date, 37.5 million works registered with Crossref have both full-text links and TDM license information. We continue to encourage all members to include full-text links and license information in the metadata they register to assist researchers with TDM. You can see how each member is doing via its Participation Report (e.g. Wiley’s).
Members are also making subscription content available for text mining (temporarily or otherwise) for specific purposes, such as to help the research community with its response to COVID-19. Back in April we highlighted how this can be achieved by including:
A “free to read” element in the access indicators section of publisher metadata indicating that the content is being made available free-of-charge (gratis)
An assertion element indicating that the content being made available is available free-of-charge.
To access Crossref’s click-through tool for text and data mining, users could log in via their ORCID iD. They could then review TDM license agreements posted by Crossref members and accept, reject or postpone their decisions until later. Having agreed to a publisher’s terms and conditions this action was logged against the user’s API token which they could use when requesting full-text from the publisher.
Since the pilot in 2014, only 2 publishers have continued with the tool and fewer than 300 API tokens have been issued.
Publishers have since developed their own mechanisms for managing TDM requests. The introduction of UK (2014) / EU (2019) copyright exceptions for TDM has significantly reduced the number of requests and at the same time, more and more content is published under an open access license.
Given the low take-up of the click-through by both publishers and researchers, its goals are no longer being met. Therefore we will retire the TDM click-through in December 2020. Until that date, it will still operate for the two publishers and various researchers who use it while they finish implementing their alternative plans.
Crossref will continue to collect member-supplied TDM licensing information in metadata for individual works, and researchers can continue to find this via the Crossref APIs.