If there’s a conflict in your metadata—we’ll send you a Conflict Report to tell you about it. A conflict is where two (or more) DOIs have been submitted with the same metadata, so it looks like there are two separate DOIs for the same content. And as you know, a DOI is a unique identifier—so there should only ever be one DOI for each content item.
It’s important to fix conflicts soon as you can, because it could lead to problems in the future. Having two separate DOIs for the same content means researchers won’t know which one to cite—and this risks splitting your citation count. You may also forget you have two DOIs, and update only one of them if your URLs change. This means anyone using the DOI you haven’t updated will come to a dead link. The good news is that it’s very quick to eliminate this bad metadata and solve the problem.
What to do when you get a Conflict Report
If you’re the Crossref ‘technical contact’ at your organization you’ll automatically receive these. If you’re not the technical contact, but want to see the reports, let us know.
Conflict Reports are sent by firstname.lastname@example.org automatically every 30 days. If however, your conflict level has increased by 500+ we’ll let you know right away, as this indicates a bigger problem. If your organization has more than one prefix, you’ll receive a separate email for each prefix. The email will contain a link to our conflict report page, where you can locate your organization and see the conflicts.
Click your organization’s name to see which titles have the problem. Click each title to show a report that displays the DOIs in conflict. Alternatively, you can see the conflict reports for your whole prefix by clicking on the XML link.
The three ways two (or more) DOIs can get submitted with the same metadata are:
One: You assigned two DOIs to distinct content items, but accidentally submitted the same metadata for both of them. In this case, one of the DOIs has incorrect metadata. If you update and resubmit the deposit to correct that DOI's metadata, the conflict will be resolved.
Two: You assigned two DOIs to the same content item. In this case, you can resolve the conflict by assigning one of the DOIs as 'primary' and the other as its 'alias'. The alias DOI will automatically redirect to the primary DOI, so you'll only need to maintain the primary. There are two methods to assign primary and alias status, both are described in detail in our support documentation.
Three: The two DOIs refer to different content items, but their metadata is so similar that a conflict was flagged. This happens when items have very little metadata included. The best thing to do is to register more metadata to remove the conflict. If you can’t do this, you can accept the conflict, using one of the methods described in our support documentation.
If you have any further questions about our Conflict Reports, get in touch.