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Retrieve subjects and subject from journals and works

Dear all
is there a good way to retrieve subjects (set for journals) and subject (set for works)? I am aiming to set and submit subjects myself, but first I’d like to see an existing (kind of) taxonomy. Crossref does not follow a Dewey Classification or something similar, don’t they?
A query like api. crossref. org/ works?select=subject seems to retrieve an uncomplete picture.


Hi Klaus,

We don’t actually accept subjects (or keywords) in the metadata that members supply while registering their DOIs.

The subjects that you see in the API were added basically as an experiment, based on the Scopus ASJC subject codes. They’re one of the few things in the API metadata records that’s added by Crossref directly, rather than coming from the publisher/member.

Those subjects are of limited use, because they only apply to journals which are indexed by Scopus. They tend to cause a lot of confusion as well, because they only pertain to the subject of the journal as a whole, which often doesn’t align well with the subject of a given article.

We are planning to remove them in a future update to the REST API, though I don’t have a timeframe for that change.

So, that’s all to say, you don’t need to worry about which subjects to put in your metadata deposits, because our schema doesn’t allow for that.


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Dear @Shayn
Thank you very much for the clarification. Once the <subject> is removed it will certainly be removed from the documentation, too, as this drew my attention to the issue.
At Crossref, could you please find out if it is a bug that empty/NULL <subject> fields are filled with “Pharmacology” or to just timely remove them form all our records: /journals/1424-3636.
All the best

Hi Klaus,

Yes, the documentation will be updated when the subjects are removed.

That ‘Pharmacology’ subject value for “MedienPädagogik: Zeitschrift für Theorie und Praxis der Medienbildung” looks like a bug that pertains just to your journal.

Works from other journals, which aren’t indexed in Scopus, simply don’t have ‘subject’ fields at all. That would be the expected behavior.

I’ll report the bug to our technical team, so they can both verify that the misplaced subject only pertains to the one journal and see what’s involved in reindexing to correct it.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.


Dear @Shayn
thanks for the update. The problem or bug relates to all submissions within our prefix ‘10.21240’

Thanks, Klaus.

I’ve summarized the issue for our technical team here

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