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Retrieving cited-by data using Crossref API


As a funding agency, our organization is interested to know how are our funded publications being cited over the years.

I am aware of the XML query tool, but it seems that is only limited to self-managed DOIs.

Is there a similar public tool that returns cited-by information from any DOI?

Thanks in advance,

Hello Xiaojun,

You can return the cited by count against a DOI using the REST API. You can also search and return the counts from multiple DOIs using the REST API using the correct queries. Do you have an example DOI you would like to get the counts from? Or maybe a journal you would like the counts from? Feel free to send more information over, either here or to and we can give more advice on retrieving the counts.

If the DOIs are registered against your prefix then you can retrieve the works results too: Retrieve citations using Cited-by - Crossref


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Hi @pdavis,

Thank you very much for your reply. It’s good to know that REST API provides powerful features.

I have read through the documentation on GitHub but was not able to find the answer. Would appreciate it very much if you could show me how to retrieve the counts. Here’s an example DOI we are interested in: 10.1002/joc.4081

In addition to citation counts, is there a way we can query the /works endpoint to retrieve details of each citing work? For example, it would be useful to know how the cited-by counts evolve on an annual basis.

Thanks again for your reply!

Best regards,

Hello Xiaojun,

So you can find the cited by counts in the API against the DOI querying just the DOI like here: You would need to look for the is-referenced-by-count: value.

Let me know if you want examples of querying for this data by journal or perhaps a prefix basis.

You can’t query the REST API and get the citing works, that would be done via one of the methods from the link I sent in my first reply.

To get the citation counts based on an annual basis you would need to query the DOIs each year and make a note of the numbers, then query them the next year and compare the results. There is no way of retrieving when the matches were made and when I am afraid.

I hope this helps.
Best regards,


Hi Paul,

is-reference-by-count is really useful. Querying DOI counts each year sounds interesting. That should be sufficient for our purpose. Thank you for your information!

Best regards,