May 17, 2022

Crossref’s Board Votes to Adopt the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure

From a Crossref Blog Post by Geoffery Bilder, Director of Strategic Initiatives

On November 11th 2020, the Crossref Board voted to adopt the “Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure” (POSI). POSI is a list of sixteen commitments that will now guide the board, staff, and Crossref’s development as an organisation into the future. It is an important public statement to make in Crossref’s twentieth anniversary year. Crossref has followed principles since its founding, and meets most of the POSI, but publicly committing to a codified and measurable set of principles is a big step. If 2019 was a reflective turning point, and mid-2020 was about Crossref committing to open scholarly infrastructure and collaboration, this is now announcing a very deliberate path. And we’re just a little bit giddy about it.


Motivations. Why Now?

Because it is the right thing to do for those that currently depend on Crossref

It is a healthy thing for the organisation to do. Adopting these principles strengthens Crossref’s governance. After twenty years, Crossref infrastructure has become critical to a broad segment of the community. As our membership profile changes, and as our broader stakeholder community expands, we need to explicitly evolve our governance to reflect stakeholders. And it would be irresponsible to continue to have our governance guided by a set of informal conventions. Particularly in the context of a global political period where we’ve seen the informal operating conventions and policy understandings of at least two major democracies ignored or discarded.

Because it could help make the creation of new, sustainable, open scholarly infrastructure easier and less expensive

There is a lot of new interest in open scholarly infrastructure. New infrastructure services and systems are being proposed almost every month. Many of them seek extensive advice and consulting from Crossref. A subset of these are incubated through Crossref. And a subset of these become Crossref services. Others are spun out as separate organisations (e.g. ORCID) or were specifically initiated as collaborations (e.g. ROR).

Our experience has been that the vast majority of work involved in these infrastructure projects was in establishing trust amongst the stakeholder community. We think that Crossref adopting the principles will help to address fundamental questions about accountability and sustainability that are inevitably raised when a new constituency approaches Crossref with an idea for collaborating on a new or existing infrastructure service. In short, adopting the principles will make future collaboration easier.

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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.