Interactive logo helps researchers decide which scholarly content to trust

Thanks to the CrossMark logo, readers can quickly learn the current status of a document

"The launch of CrossMark offers a significant benefit to researchers."

Egbert van Wezenbeek, Director Publication Process Development

One of the challenges researchers face is a lack of clarity around whether they are consulting the most up-to-date version of an article or research.

CrossMarkEditors work closely with authors and reviewers to ensure that articles have been thoroughly checked prior to publication. However, despite even the most careful scrutiny, corrections, updates and errata, as well as retractions and withdrawals, are sometimes still necessary. The challenge is that many versions of an article may still exist out on the web.

To combat this problem, Elsevier and other Publishers have banded together with CrossRef to create the CrossMark identification service. By clicking on the CrossMark logos in online PDF or HTML documents, readers can quickly learn the current status of a document. If the one they have opened is not the most up-to-date, the logo will help them to navigate to the most recent version available.

Often, copies of documents are posted on a variety of sites which can make it more difficult for the Publisher to notify readers when a correction or other change materially affects the interpretation of the work. CrossMark can help with that communication.

How will it work?

Elsevier and other Publishers will display the new logo on journal content that has been assigned a CrossRef DOI. It will only appear on final published versions, not on Articles in Press.

Readers simply need to click on the logo and, if they are connected to the internet, a pop-up box will appear showing the current status of the document. This will work whether the reader is on the Publisher's website, a third-party site or is viewing a PDF downloaded at an earlier date.

The most common pop-up will be the message that the document is still current. Occasionally, however, readers will discover that the document has updates and a CrossRef DOI will link to the update on the Publisher's site.

Crossmark Screenshot

We are aiming to roll this service out to all Elsevier journals. We began piloting it with 40 journals at the end of September and plan to roll it out to 1,250 of our 2,000 journals by early 2013.

Egbert van Wezenbeek, Director Publication Process Development, has been responsible for leading the CrossMark project at Elsevier. He commented: "The launch of CrossMark offers a significant benefit to researchers. Not only does it create a standard across scholarly publishing for recognizing changes, it can also highlight important publication record information. This can include publication history, the location of supplementary data, access policies, funding sources, peer-review processes and other useful information."

Find out more about Elsevier's Policy on CrossMark.

Author biography

Dr. Egbert van Wezenbeek
As Director Publication Process Development, Dr. Egbert van Wezenbeek is responsible for the design, development and implementation of improvements to the publication process of journal articles. The aim is to improve the experience of our authors, editors and reviewers in their interaction with us and our systems. We also attempt to adapt and innovate processes so that we are able to add more value to the whole publication process and to the final published articles. Egbert has been working with Elsevier for more than 20 years. Prior to his current role he worked in various positions in Publishing. He has a PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from the Free University Amsterdam.

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