Ticket of the month - March 2023 - Pending Publications Clarifications

In 2018, we added a new “content type” which isn’t really a content type at all. Or, at least, it’s not a permanent one.

“Pending Publications” lets you register a DOI for an item as soon as it’s been accepted for publication, but before it actually exists in any publicly-accessible state. You’re essentially ‘reserving’ the DOI that will eventually be registered for the fully published version of that item by supplying some very basic metadata along with a statement that you intend to publish it.

This is different than our typical registration workflow, so I’m going to walk through some of the details for you.

The standard process for registering a DOI is:

  • You create a unique DOI for an item at some point during the publication process (but you don’t give it out to anyone or put it anywhere public)
  • Once the item is fully published online, and has a valid landing page, then you submit the required metadata to Crossref to register the DOI

The timing is quite important. The DOI should not be published online or distributed (including to the article’s authors) until the article is published and the DOI is registered. And the DOI should be registered as close to when the article is published online as possible. We typically ask that it’s done within 24 hours on either side of publication.

The reason for this careful timing is to avoid anyone finding the DOI too soon, trying to resolve it, and ending up at a “DOI Not Found” error page. We also don’t want DOIs resolving to generic holding pages that just say something like “content forthcoming”. And we especially don’t want DOIs registered for content that actually never goes on to exist, because it’s withdrawn before it’s published.

The great thing about the Pending Publication option is that it loosens up that timing requirement. It lets you pre-register a DOI before the content is published and therefore before there is any kind of valid landing page for it to resolve to.

DOIs that are registered in Pending Publication resolve temporarily to a generic, Crossref-hosted interim page. You can see an example interim page, for a test DOI here You can see the item’s basic metadata (title, authors, parent publication), the ‘intent to publish’ statement, and the logo/name of the publisher at the top. In this case, for the test item, the “publisher” is Crossref and the parent publication is called “publication test”.

Later, once the item is published, you have to come back and submit a new metadata deposit for that same DOI, to update its metadata record with one of the regular content types. The XML that you submit to do that update is the same kind of xml would have submitted to register the DOI in the first place, if you hadn’t used Pending Publication.

So, with Pending Publication, there’s an extra step, as compared to the normal registration process:

  • You create a unique DOI for an item at some point during the publication process
  • You immediately register the DOI using the minimal/temporary Pending Publication metadata
  • Once the article is fully published online, and has a valid landing page, then you resubmit updated metadata with the metadata that accords to its correct content type (e.g. journal article, book chapter, etc.) and a landing page URL

You can see that workflow illustrated in more detail using this flowchart

As you can see in the image above, Pending Publication also allows for a withdrawal option. So, if the item that you’ve registered in Pending Publication is, for whatever reason, not ultimately published, you update the DOI’s metadata record with a withdrawal statement, for the sake of transparency and DOI persistence.

One additional caveat is that Pending Publication DOIs are only supported for items within an established title, like a journal or a book. Information about that container/parent title is required in the initial deposit of Pending Publication metadata.

Basically to ‘prove’ that the parent/container title exists, you would ideally supply an ISSN or ISBN. But, for historical reasons, not all journals, books, etc. have ISSNs or ISBNs. So, we allow a title-level DOI to be used in lieu of ISSN or ISBN in cases where they don’t apply.

If you’re interested in Pending Publications, you can read more about it on our documentation site here. And, you can find an xml markup guide here. Currently, Pending Publications can only be registered by creating and submitting xml directly; they’re not supported by the Web Deposit Form or other manual metadata deposit tools.

Please let us know if you have any questions!