Ticket of the month - May 2024 - Journal title management and best practices

What is a journal title record?

As a Crossref member, once you register a journal with us, we lock the journal title in our admin tool content registration system. This is because we presume that the journal’s title level metadata (title, ISSN, journal-title-level DOI) will not change over time. This also enables consistent, predictable metadata out to all the scholarly metadata users.

A registered journal title in our content registration system looks like one below:

What is the error associated with incorrect title record?

Any inconsistency between the journal title we have in the system and the one included in your deposit metadata will automatically result in a deposit failure.

For example, if the correct journal title we have in the system for ISSN 10468986 is Journal of Test Deposits, and in a metadata deposit you incorrectly include the journal title as Test Deposits Journal, then this deposit will automatically fail and you will receive the below error:

<msg> ISSN "10468986" has already been assigned, issn (10468986) is assigned to another title (Journal of Test Deposits) </msg>

To avoid these failures, always ensure that you consistently use the correct journal title in your metadata deposits, as well as maintain the below best practices.

What are the best practices on title management?

The Do’s:

  • be consistent - journal title records are created from the metadata submitted when you first register your journal and articles. You determine the exact title and ISSN included in the deposit, and we record that title and ISSN in a title record in our database. The title, ISSN, and title-level persistent identifier supplied in your content registration files must be consistent across submissions. Please note that our system is not connected to the ISSN International Centre, so be sure that your journal’s title in the ISSN Centre matches what you register with Crossref so that your record is consistent in both places
  • register a title-level DOI for your journal
  • include all registered ISSN for your journal - the ISSN is crucial for identifying a serial. If you are supplying us with data for older titles that predate ISSN assignment, you should request ISSNs from your ISSN agency as they can be assigned retroactively. This isn’t only for our convenience - libraries, database providers, and other organizations using your data will welcome (and often require) an ISSN for anything defined as a journal.
  • supply distinct ISSN and / or title DOI for each distinct version of a title. If a title changes significantly the publisher should obtain new ISSNs (both print and online). This rule is established by the ISSN International Centre, not us, but we support and enforce it. Minor title changes (such as changing ‘and’ to ‘&’) don’t require a new ISSN.
  • supply all commonly used title abbreviations within the repeatable abbrev element
  • supply a journal language using the language attribute

The Don’ts:

  • register issues and articles published under a past title under the current title - this makes it hard to match DOIs to citations and accurately identify items published over time. Some publishers consolidate all versions of a title under the most recent title. This isn’t recommended practice as it causes a lot of linking and citing confusion – you’ve essentially created two (or more) versions of a title. This is particularly confusing when volume and issue numbers overlap between title iterations.
  • Journal titles should reflect the journal title at the time of publication, and should not be updated if the journal title changes later on.
  • vary your journal title without obtaining a new ISSN

I Have changed/ modified my journal title. What next?

If you make any changes (whether minor or major) to your journal title, please inform us so that we can update it in the content registration system. Write to support@crossref.org