International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Scientific Publishers Advance in the Citation of Plant Material with Digital Object Identifiers


Users of the Global Information System will benefit from the joint initiative of CrossRef and DataCite, which have jointly launched guidelines on how publishers should facilitate the citation of plant material through Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs). This initiative will improve the way in which researchers refer to genebank accessions and other germplasm in their publications and the way in which readers will find them.

The target audience of the new guidelines are the publishers that use DOI registration services of both CrossRef and DataCite and which are also key in providing assistance to researchers during the publication of their results in the form of technical and scientific papers.

“The guidelines will help publishers accept proper citation of DOIs obtained through the Global Information System in the papers and in their citation systems. This was one of the activities requested by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Article 17 of the International Treaty. I am happy to report that we have advanced in the development of synergies between genebanks and the scientific community on one side and the publishers and editors on the other”, said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary of the International Treaty.

The guidelines for the publishers and the academic community improve the way in which authors cite DOIs obtained through GLIS and respond to a demand from this sector to harmonize how citations are done. These guidelines are published under the title “A data citation roadmap for scientific publishers” in Scientific Data and provide several examples.

The document also provides a timeline with the estimation of the implementation of eight of the major academic publishers: eLife, Elsevier, EMBO Press, Frontiers, PLOS, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis Group and Wiley. The data citation rollout at those publishers will be in line with their respective data policies and will apply to all journals whose content is based on a dataset or which references datasets.

Implications for the Global Information System

The new guidelines recommend the citation of the material to be done through bibliographic references at the end of the publication. In the future, publishers are invited to update their systems to allow for references to material's DOIs to be parsed in the text of the publication or in supplemental tables.

The Secretariat of the International Treaty has been very active in reaching out to the publishers, both directly and through DOI Registration Agencies, since 2017. This advancement will facilitate access to publications relevant to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) registered in the Global Information System. The Global Information System of the International Treaty was launched at the end of 2017 and is already making more than 800 000 plant materials visible and, therefore, more accessible.

Reference: Cousijn, H. et al. A data citation roadmap for scientific publishers. Sci. Data. 5:180259 doi: 10.1038/sdata.2018.259 (2018). 

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