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CrossRef is an official Digital Object Identifier (DOI) Registration Agency of the International DOI Foundation. It was launched in early 2000 as a cooperative effort among publishers to enable persistent cross-publisher citation linking in online academic journals.
CrossRef is a not-for-profit association of about 2000 voting member publishers who represent 4300 societies and publishers, including both commercial and not-for-profit organizations. CrossRef includes publishers with varied business models, including those with both open access and subscription policies. CrossRef does not provide a database of fulltext scientific content. Rather, it facilitates the links between distributed content hosted at other sites.
CrossRef now interlinks millions of items from a variety of content types, including journals, books, conference proceedings, working papers, technical reports, and datasets. Linked content includes materials from Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) and Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) disciplines. The expense is paid for by CrossRef Member publishers. CrossRef provides the technical and business infrastructure to provide for this reference linking using Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs). CrossRef provides deposit and query service for its DOIs.
In addition to the DOI technology linking scholarly references, CrossRef enables a common linking contract among its participants. Members agree to assign DOIs to their current journal content and they also agree to link from the references of their content to other publishers' content. This reciprocity is an important component of what makes the system work.
Non-publisher organizations can participate in CrossRef by becoming affiliates. Such organizations include libraries, online journal hosts, linking service providers, secondary database providers, search engines and providers of article discovery tools.
The core CrossRef system was originally built by Atypon but was rewritten in 2010-2011.
In addition to assigning DOIs to scholarly content, CrossRef has additional services to fulfill its mission "to enable easy identification and use of trustworthy electronic content by promoting the cooperative development and application of a sustainable infrastructure". These services include:
Services for researchers available from CrossRef:
- DOI resolver that will redirect a DOI to its current location on the web
- Guest Query-Finding a CrossRef DOI for a journal article by author and title, or author and journal title
- Simple Text Query-Finding a CrossRef DOI from free text
- Journal title list
- Report a problem with a DOI
- CrossRef Metadata Search (beta)
- FundRef Search (beta)
- "CrossRef history/mission". crossref.org.