Best practice example for software references (metadata)

Dear Crossref community,

I am asking for advice or possibly an example about software citation as relations.

I am the editor for this chapter of the Springer Handbook of Geographic Information:

The reference section of the chapter contains a significant number of DOI-based references to software projects and other digital resources. The metadata section of the publication landing page currently provides metadata information for the DOI-based software project references this way:

“unstructured”:"QGIS Contributors: QGIS. Zenodo. (2022).

This information does is not being picked up by the “cited-by” services (yet). I assume that this is caused by the absence of a <doi_relations> section for the software/data/video DOI.

Both the publisher and the Handbook editors are in support that this should be improved.

Can you please point me to further information how to enable “cited-by” due credit for the DOI-based software references by proper metadata ?


Hi Peter,

There are two different ways to indicate software or data citations in Crossref metadata: as references or as relationships.

The particular example you’re showing uses the references method. When software is cited using a reference, it may result in a citation via our Cited-by service.

In that example, the reference has been supplied correctly. However, the cited item’s DOI is registered through DataCite, not Crossref. And DataCite DOIs aren’t part of Crossref’s Cited-by service. We only match and assert citations to (and, more generally, maintain metadata records for) Crossref DOIs.

That said, our Event Data service does include citations between Crossref and DataCite DOIs as "events.

So, if you query all the events pertaining to 10.5281/ZENODO.5869837 like this:{your-email-address-goes-here}&rows=100&obj-id=10.5281/ZENODO.5869837

you’ll see that citation by 10.1007/978-3-030-53125-6_30 returned in the results as follows:

"license": "",
"obj_id": "",
"source_token": "36c35e23-8757-4a9d-aacf-345e9b7eb50d",
"occurred_at": "2022-06-24T22:42:33.000Z",
"subj_id": "",
"id": "9b60e591-58e4-445d-a8d2-ecc1466e88b5",
"evidence_record": "",
"terms": "",
"action": "add",
"subj": {
"pid": "",
"url": "",
"work_type_id": "book-chapter"
"source_id": "crossref",
"obj": {
"pid": "",
"url": "",
"method": "doi-literal",
"verification": "literal",
"work_type_id": "Software"
"timestamp": "2022-06-25T02:06:28Z",
"relation_type_id": "references"

So, as far as references between publications registered in Crossref and data/software registered in DataCite, that’s the expected behavior resulting from the reference you supplied in the metadata for 10.1007/978-3-030-53125-6_30

You may also want to reflect the connection between 10.1007/978-3-030-53125-6_30 and 10.5281/ZENODO.5869837 as a relationship as well. That’s helpful, but it will not show in the Cited-by service.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.


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