Information Today
Volume 17, Issue 7 • July/August 2000
CrossRef Now on the Web

CrossRef, a collaborative reference-linking service, has announced that it has activated its first links on the Internet and has gone live. A demonstration of the live reference links can be accessed at

“CrossRef is now well on its way to becoming the comprehensive source for linking journal articles. The reference links that researchers want and need are starting to appear,” said Ed Pentz, executive director of CrossRef.

Pentz reported that 10 of the member publishers have submitted more than 1.3 million article records in about 2,700 journals to CrossRef’s Metadata Database. Submission of the records is the first step of the process; CrossRef members then use this information to enable the links from references in their journal articles to other publishers’ content.

Approximately 1,100 journals now have live reference links enabled by CrossRef. They include Biochimica et Biophysica Acta and Brain Research (Elsevier), Cancer and Journal of Comparative Neurology (Wiley), European Journal of Biochemistry and Journal of Investigative Dermatology (Blackwell), Journal of Molecular Biology (Academic), and Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology and World Journal of Surgery (Springer).

CrossRef-enabled links will appear in a few different formats, depending on the preferences of each publisher (for example, CrossRef button or “Article” in HTML). In the coming weeks and months, a constantly increasing number of records will be submitted and live reference links will appear.

According to Pentz, 11 publishers have recently joined CrossRef, bringing the current total to 33 member publishers. These include American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Physical Society, Annual Reviews, Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, British Medical Journal, CAB, International Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE), Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., The Royal Society, and Thieme Verlag.

Active discussions are underway with many more scientific and scholarly primary journal publishers to expand this broad-based, industrywide initiative, which was initially announced in November 1999. CrossRef is operated under the aegis of the not-for-profit organization jointly formed by the member publishers and incorporated as Publishers International Linking Association, Inc. (PILA).

CrossRef operates behind the scenes by enabling member publishers to add reference links to their online journals. Because there is no visible CrossRef interface, users of the online journals see, click on, and follow the links directly to the publisher-controlled content. CrossRef is run from a central facility operated by PILA, and utilizes the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to ensure permanent links.

Once the service is fully launched, more than 3 million articles across thousands of journals will be linked through CrossRef, and more than a half-million more articles will be linked each year thereafter. Such linking will enhance the efficiency of browsing and reading the primary scientific and scholarly literature. It will enable readers to gain access to logically related articles with one or two clicks—an objective widely accepted among researchers as a natural and necessary part of scientific and scholarly publishing in the digital age.

Source: CrossRef, Burlington, MA, 781/359-2442;

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