Newsletter for Office of Scientific and Technical Information

OSTI.gov Newsletter

OSTI Partnering with Publishers on CrossRef and FundRef

to Enhance Public Access to DOE Scientific and Technical Information

CrossRef FundRef

As reported in the last issue of the OSTI.gov Newsletter, the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is now developing a gateway that will provide public access to the gold standard of scientific communications, peer-reviewed accepted manuscripts and scientific journal articles resulting from Department of Energy (DOE) research investments, as directed by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and requested by former DOE Office of Science Director Dr. William Brinkman.  In recent years, OSTI has worked especially closely with scholarly publishers on a number of initiatives to improve access to DOE research and development (R&D) results. Two of those collaborations, CrossRef and FundRef, promise to be integral components of the DOE public access solution that OSTI will be unveiling.  

CrossRef  is a collaboration among scholarly publishers that makes it easier to access online materials by assigning "Digital Object Identifiers" or DOIs to content and enabling researchers, librarians and other users to navigate from one resource to another through reference citation linking.  A DOI is a permanent, electronic identification assigned to an individual document or dataset.  A DOI gives the content more stable linking and aids in citation, search and retrieval of R&D results and scholarly publications.

CrossRef was launched in 2000 and now includes more than 4,300 commercial and not-for-profit members who collectively publish more than 27,000 journal titles.  CrossRef interlinks nearly 60 million items in a variety of content types, including journals, books, conference proceedings, working papers and technical reports, and the reference linking service's database is growing by more than 2.5 million items a year.

In 2005, OSTI became the first government agency to join CrossRef, to facilitate access to DOE's vast stores of scientific and technical information.  OSTI assigned DOIs to the technical reports of the Information Bridge, which included 94,000 full-text and bibliographic records of DOE research since 1995 in physics, chemistry, materials, biology, environmental sciences, energy technologies, engineering, computer and information science, renewable energy and other topics. Ever since, DOIs have been added to records in OSTI databases for technical reports, accomplishment reports, and theses and dissertations.

Today, OSTI and CrossRef are partnering to make it easier to access electronic versions of both technical reports and journal articles. There are more than 171,000 science research reports that have DOIs assigned by OSTI. These reports are available electronically on the successor to the Information Bridge, OSTI's SciTech Connect site. There are also over 375,000 journal article citations in SciTech Connect with DOIs from CrossRef to full-text articles on publishers' websites. In addition to the technical reports citations containing DOIs, SciTech Connect makes available in full text 118,350 conference proceedings, 1,200 books, 16,500 journal articles, 18,700 patents, 320 program documents and 3,100 dissertations, for a total of more than 334,000 full-text reports.

In May 2012, CrossRef announced FundRef, a pilot collaboration between scholarly publishers and funding agencies to standardize funding source information for scholarly publications.  OSTI was one of four funding agencies that participated in the pilot of the funder identification service, which provides the names of research funders and the grant or award number attributed in journal articles or other scholarly documents.  FundRef makes it possible for researchers, publishers and funding agencies to track the research published by sponsoring agencies.

A beta version of FundRef Search allows a user to search the data from the publishers and funders that participated in the pilot for funder names and abbreviations. In addition, CrossRef Metadata Search allows search by grant number.

In May 2013, CrossRef officially launched FundRef. Publishers participating in the initiative add the name of the agency funder and a grant or award number to the metadata they already provide to CrossRef for reference linking.  The FundRef funder registry accounts for a list of 4,000 global funder names (including alternate names, aliases and abbreviations), allowing authors to choose from a standard roster of funders.  The tagged funding data is then relayed through publishers' systems to be stored at CrossRef.

OSTI believes FundRef is a great way for publishers and funding agencies to work together. Research agencies like DOE are accountable for the results of their expenditures to Congress and to the public. Publications in the peer-reviewed literature represent an important output of those expenses, but they have been difficult to track and quantify until now. Tagging this data in a searchable, standard way is a key step forward.