This publication date doesn't match the date online!

We often get messages from authors and other members asking that we correct or update publishing dates that appear in our metadata. As has been mentioned in other posts in this category, we don’t update or edit our members’ metadata. But, luckily, we have some responsive members who will make those corrections once they’re alerted to them.

In this example, we received a ticket from one of our metadata users, Third Iron. They noticed that in a particular issue of a particular journal, most articles had not been updated to include the final print publication date.

What does that mean?

When an article is published online, ahead of print, it will likely have two different dates reflecting the online status of the article in the metadata record. An entire issue may be published online first, and then later, when it actually goes to print, that will be at a later date. When the articles from an issue are registered with Crossref, a member may just use the date of deposit (or when it appeared online) as the publication date.

In our example, one of the articles in that issue was registered on 16 August 2021, and the publisher entered the metadata as follows:

Screenshot 2024-05-29 at 10.37.32 AM

Once the issue has gone to print and a print publication date is set, the publication date in their Crossref metadata ought to be updated as well.

In this example, the publisher forgot to go back and update this date in the metadata registered with Crossref. We received the message from Third Iron alerting us to this, and we got in touch with the publisher who quickly remedied the situation by re-depositing the DOIs from that particular issue of their journal and included the correct publication date, which is shown on their website.

Their new metadata for this article now looks like this:

Screenshot 2024-05-29 at 10.38.24 AM

As you can see, they didn’t merely change the print date, they edited the original date to be the online date and added a new print date to accurately reflect what they have published.

Cleaning up the metadata in this way better helps users locate articles that they’re searching for, increases discoverability, helps with citation matching, and creates a clear path to trace the provenance of an article.