Ticket of the month - November 2022 - common questions about our admin tool and submission processing

Hello all,

We receive a number of recurring questions about our admin tool - from basics like why members don’t have access to all tabs to more intricate questions about how we allocate processing threads. I’m here to answer a few of those more common questions today.

Q1) “I’ve uploaded my PDFs, why aren’t my DOIs resolving (or, registered/active)?”

A1) Members register content with us to let the world know it exists. They send us information called metadata which we collect (as XML) and store in a standard way. Metadata does not include the full-text of the content itself, just information about the content.

So, we don’t accept full-text or the PDFs themselves, and submitting a PDF file to doi.crossref.org will result in failures. Regardless if you are sending us XML directly, using a helper tool like our web deposit form, or are an OJS user, your metadata records are registered with us as XML, and look like the sample XML files here: Example XML metadata - Crossref (for those of you interested in learning more about XML or just reviewing sample files, this URL is a great place to start!)


Q2) “I’m a new member. I see that I don’t have access to some of the tabs in your admin tool. Was my username and DOI prefix configured correctly?”

A2) Most likely. We’re human and ever now and again we’ll make a mistake, but greyed tabs in the admin tool is not an indicator.

Not all of the tabs in the admin tool are available to members. The greyed out tabs, like the depositor tab, are only available to Crossref staff. So, this is what a Crossref member can expect to see when signed in to the admin tool - doi.crossref.org.


Q3) “I’m seeing a number of submissions in your deposit queue for usernames other than my own. Should I be concerned?”

A3) No. Not at all. We intentionally made the view in the submission queue open and transparent, so when you log into our admin tool - doi.crossref.org - you can see all submissions processing and pending for ALL Crossref members. See Q5 below for additional details and images.


Q4) “I submitted XML. How can I determine if the submission has processed? Are the DOIs registered/active?”

A4) Generally speaking, when you submit your XML to us, we return a submission log with the details of that submission to the email address included in the <email_address> element of your XML. That XML element looks like this:

<email_address>email@crossref.org</email_address>

If you’re a web deposit form user, we email the results of your submissions to the email address you include in the final step of completing your web deposit form registration (i.e., we include the email address you enter into the form in that XML element - we’re building the XML from the fields you’re completing in the form). This screen:

That emailed submission log comes in XML, so it might look intimidating for those who aren’t as familiar with XML, but let’s look at an example and see what we can decipher:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<doi_batch_diagnostic status="completed" sp="ds4.crossref.org">
   <submission_id>1547014898</submission_id>
   <batch_id>97a7b232-a59c-497d-a9a3-4f31cf1b1c0e</batch_id>
   <record_diagnostic status="Success">
      <doi>10.5555/j99-p4z</doi>
      <msg>Successfully added</msg>
   </record_diagnostic>
   <batch_data>
      <record_count>1</record_count>
      <success_count>1</success_count>
      <warning_count>0</warning_count>
      <failure_count>0</failure_count>
   </batch_data>
</doi_batch_diagnostic>

The most important part of this submission log is the record count and success and failure counts. The above tells us that this submission included one DOI - 10.5555/j99-p4z - and it was successfully added (or, registered/activated) with this submission (ID 1547014898).

Pro tip: including a submission ID when contacting support@crossref.org with a submission-related question expedites our response time.

If you’re wanting to review your submissions, but don’t have a submission ID or just want to review all of your previous submissions, you can do that in the Submissions > Administration tab of the admin tool.

Leaving all the fields blank and clicking Search will return the complete list of all submissions made to date for the username you have logged in to the admin tool with.


Q5) “How long does it take you to process my submission(s)?”

A5) Okay. There’s a lot to consider, so bear with me on this one. Lengthy response ahead!

Generally speaking, most submissions are processed within a few (say, five to ten) minutes of receipt. That said, there are a number of variables to consider:

  1. the size of your submission - XML including a single DOI with no references in the metadata record sent to us typically takes a few minutes to process; XML including many DOIs that include reference metadata (since we’re processing those references and establishing links between the DOIs being registered and the DOIs that those newly-registered DOIs cite) takes longer
  2. the number of submissions you’re sending us simultaneously - if you’re sending us thousands of files for us to process, that will take us time to process; we have the capacity to run 30 concurrent threads in our submission queue and we’ll process five submissions per username concurrently (barring over-all demand on those threads) - we have logic built into the system that makes processing equitable
  3. the number of submissions in the queue - if we have many submissions from a number of members, that’s going to take us longer to process than if we only have a few submissions from a handful of members

At the time of this writing, we have 26 threads processing submissions concurrently and 1443 submissions pending in the submission queue. This view in the submission queue is open and transparent, so when you log into our admin tool - doi.crossref.org - you can see all submissions processing and pending for ALL Crossref members.

  1. Maintenance - we pause the processing of submissions into the queue on Tuesdays between 1400 and 1700 UTC to fix bugs and release new features; during that time, we accept submissions, but it does take extra time on Tuesdays (when we have a maintenance release) for us to process all submissions because of that pause in processing. You can monitor the status of our system, including those maintenance windows here: https://0-status-crossref-org.library.alliant.edu/

Here’s an example of a recent maintenance release (and the updates we post to the status page):

  1. Unexpected incidents (problems/bugs) - we had one of these at the end of last week; we can’t predict them, but they can and do cause submission processing delays. I’m not sure about the specifics of your example, but based on the timing, this could be what happened with your submission. We announce all of these incidents on our status page. Here’s the most-recent incident: Crossref Status - Possible problem with Crossref content submission - now solved

So, again, most submissions take us a few minutes to process. But, there are several factors that can extend the amount of time it takes us to process a member’s submission to us. In some cases, like on a Tuesday during our maintenance window, the timing of our processing can extend to hours. In other, rare cases, like the incident from the end of last week, the timing of our processing can extend to days.

I hope this post answers some of your basic questions about the admin tool and submission processing. Thanks for reading! If you have other questions, add them below and we’ll get back to you!

-Isaac

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