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Crossref Metadata Retrieval

New York, New York, United States of America


Launched: 2000
Record Updated: Apr 25, 2024
Open scholarly dataset

Our community includes tens of thousands of organisations and systems in over 160 countries. Around 20,000 organisations are members so that they can create identifiers for metadata records that describe and locate their research. The records describe articles, book chapters, preprints, grants, and all kinds of digital or even physical objects relating to scholarly and professional research. Crossref members share the records through Crossref so that they don’t have to duplicate the information for the thousands who consume and use it downstream throughout the global research ecosystem.

The focus here is on the part of the Crossref infrastructure that facilitates the open and accessible retrieval of these metadata records, numbering over 160 million today.

Anyone can access to use these records without restriction, either through our search tool,, or our REST API, There are no fees to use the metadata, but people who really rely on it may sign up for Metadata 'Plus', which offers greater predictability and higher rate limits.

People retrieving Crossref metadata need it for all sorts of reasons, including metaresearch (researchers studying research itself, such as through bibliometric analyses), publishing trends (such as finding works from an individual author or reviewer), or incorporation into specific databases (such as for discovery and search or in subject-specific repositories), and many more detailed use cases.


We envision 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.

Key Achievements

Tools and services in all the categories listed tend to use Crossref metadata. The metadata is retrieved billions of times every month; the DOIs are clicked on or followed around 1.2 billion times a month (94% of all DOI usage); and additionally, the metadata is retrieved (through search and matching tools or our API) around 1.8 billion times a month.

Technical Attributes

Content Licensing

For our information on our website we use a CC-BY-4.0 license. All metadata is CC0.

Hosting Options & Service Providers

Hosting Strategy

Not applicable

Service Providers

What other tools and projects does your project interact with?

Crossref metadata is used millions of times every day by thousands of services throughout the research ecosystem such as discovery engines, library systems, and analytics platforms. People using Crossref metadata need it for things like metaresearch (researchers studying research itself such as through bibliometric analyses or for research integrity), publishing trends (such as finding citation counts in general or works from an individual author), or incorporation into specific databases and repositories (such as for discovery and search in general).

Community Engagement

Code of Conduct


Community Engagement


Contribution Guidelines or Fora


Organizational Commitment to Community Engagement

Crossref has a large community engagement program, with around 10 staff who have all taken the CSCCE Foundations course. Activities comprise:

Members of Crossref's community also participate in governance through the elections process. 20,000 organisations from 160 countries have a vote in Crossref's annual and open board elections, which include more candidates than available seats, from a slate curated by a community-led Nominating Committee.

Engagement with Values Frameworks

  • POSI, with two self-assessments and a further report due in 2024 based on the new POSI version - v1.1
  • SOC 2® accreditation
  • FOREST is under consideration
  • User Contribution Pathways

    • Contribute funds
    • Contribute to code
    • Contribute to documentation
    • Contribute to education or training
    • Contribute to working groups or interest groups

    Policies & Governance

    Governance Summary

    Crossref is governed by a Board of Directors, elected by its members. Their board consists of a representative balance of 16 institutions, publishers, or funders, and they are responsible for the fiduciary and strategic oversight of the organisation.

    Additional Information

    Organizational History

    Crossref was initially incorporated in January 2000 as Publishers International Linking Association, Inc. (PILA). The technical foundations were created in a prototype project by Academic Press, Wiley, and the DOI-X project. The Crossref system went live in June 2000 with several community loans, paid back the loans and reached sustainability in 2004. Over the years, Crossref has moved beyond its founding service to link references between articles, to include sevaral additional services, such as Crossmark for retractions and corrections, Similarity Check for text-based plagiarism screening, and more resource types beyond articles and references, most notably in 2018 with the introduction of the Crossref Grant System to link funders and their grants with the rest of the research ecosystem.

    Organizational Structure

    Business or Ownership Model

    Non-profit organization

    Full-time Staff



    Primary Funding Source

    Program service revenue

    Funding Needs

    The Metadata Retrieval service, which includes APIs, and search and matching tools, is funded primarily by reinvesting Crossref membership and content registration revenue. It's all open data, but many organisations also subscribe to a premium service that gives them higher rate limits, monthly data dumps, and greater predictability. As Crossref is well-sustained financially, they fund several other infrastructure projects and are always open to collaborating or co-funding.