May 20, 2022

Crossref: “Newly Approved Membership Terms Will Replace Existing Agreement”

From a Crossref Blog Post:

2018-12-05_18-03-08In its July 2018 meeting, the Crossref Board voted unanimously to approve and introduce a new set of membership terms. At the same meeting, the board also voted to change the description of membership eligibility in our Bylaws, officially broadening our remit be

Why are we updating the terms?

Being almost 20 years old the old agreement is out-of-date with current practice and technology, and has become quite long and confusing, especially for applicants for whom English is not their first language. Specific reasons include:

1. To improve efficiency

Over the years we’ve had feedback that our application process is too long and involved. The membership agreement used to be signed manually by each new Crossref member, often days after they applied. We also now process around 180 new members each month which is too many for a wholly manual process managed by just one person.

2. To clarify the wording

People would tell us that the agreement is too long and confusing, especially when English is not their first language. There are often questions about the “legalese” style of language that takes up too much time in back-and-forth discussions to ensure everyone has understood. Also, the main structure of the agreement has been in place for over a decade and needs updating to avoid confusion and to align with up-to-date language, services, technologies, and current practices.

3. To emphasize the community aspect and our members’ obligations

It is quite a commitment to participate fully in Crossref, and we want people to understand up-front what their obligations are as part of the collective membership. And also to realize what value they are receiving as well as contributing to other members. We needed clearer terms so that every organization can understand what they are getting into.

Additionally, moving from signing contracts to click-through acceptance of standard terms emphasizes that Crossref is not a service provider or vendor. We are a not-for-profit community organization. We don’t have the resources to negotiate and keep track of individual custom agreements.

Much More About What’s Changing in the Complete Blog Post

See Also: Updates to our by-laws (November 29, 2018)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.