Communicating post-publication updates: Inviting feedback on the next steps for Crossmark

We are kicking off a consultation on the effectiveness of Crossmark and how it can be improved, and we would like your involvement.

Content and metadata for published items can occur after publication for a variety of reasons. Crossref members can update metadata at any time, and downstream services can identify what has changed and update their own records. Reporting these changes is a crucial component of research integrity. At Crossref the collection and reporting of certain important changes to metadata is supported by Crossmark, which covers several tasks:

  • Reporting corrections, retractions, and other post-publication changes.
  • Collecting information in support of research integrity that is not covered by other metadata, including details of editorial processes and update policies.
  • A widget to display on websites and in PDFs to check for updates to a text at any time after publication.

Launched in 2012, and revamped in 2016, we continuously seek to adjust Crossmark to better fit with the changing needs of the community and technical capabilities. We have recently seen several important developments in the context of research integrity:

  • An increase in the number of retractions, including due to large-scale fraud.
  • Crossref membership becoming more diverse, which brings a diversity of approaches to communicating updates — for example, retraction notices are not issued for types like preprints.
  • The NISO CREC Working Group will report recommendations for retracting journal articles later this year.
  • Some items that could only have been reported through Crossmark have become part of the standard metadata, including identifiers for authors (through ORCID), organisations (through ROR), and grants (through Crossref DOIs).

In the first part of 2024 we will consult our community about how Crossmark is perceived, gather feedback from organisations that have tried to implement it, and understand how we can best support research integrity. This will include interviews with members, readers, and other interested parties, focus groups, and a survey.

If you have feedback about Crossmark and would like to get involved we would love to hear from you. Please post your thoughts here on the Community Forum. We expect to report the final outputs of the consultation around May 2024.