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Japanese National Centre for ISSN

What is an ISSN?

The ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) is an international code number to identify serial publications. A particular ISSN corresponds to a particular media version of a serial publication. The ISSN is widely used as an identifier on a global scale. The ISSN is defined by the international standard (ISO 3297) and its corresponding national standard (JIS X 0306).

The National Diet Library (NDL), which acquires national serial publications exhaustively as the only national and deposit library in Japan, plays a role as the Japanese National Centre for ISSN.

As of the end of 2020, the Japanese National Centre for ISSN manages about 46,000 bibliographic records for serials with ISSN. They are included in the over 2.1 million records registered by the ISSN Network, an international organization managing the ISSN system.

*A "serial publication" is a publication which meets all the following criteria:

-Issued in a succession of discrete issues or parts (i.e., published continuously under a unique title and separately in volumes, etc.)

-Bearing numbering (e.g., a volume, number, issue, month, year, etc.)

-With no predetermined conclusion

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Outline of the Requirements for ISSN Application

The Japanese National Centre assigns an ISSN only when there is a request from a publisher or an agent of the publisher who made some contribution for editing, production, printing, etc.

The Japanese National Centre is in charge of and accepts ISSN applications only for publications published in Japan.

* Regarding ISSN applications for publications published/to be published in other countries than Japan, these have to be sent to the relevant foreign ISSN Centre which is responsible for ISSN assignment in the country.

* Regarding ISSN requests for publications published/to be published in several countries in rotation, these have to be submitted to the ISSN International Centre.

Publications to be registered for ISSN

The Japanese National Centre for ISSN is currently registering serial publications* which are published in Japan, in the following media:

-Printed publications

-Packaged electronic publications (CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, magnetic discs, etc.)

-Publications in other physical mediums (microfilms, braille materials, etc.)

-Network electronic publications (online journals, databases, etc.)

* "Serial publications" include periodicals, newspapers and monograph series, etc. In addition, ongoing integrating resources such as loose leaf materials or databases can also be assigned ISSN.

Conditions for the registration for ISSN

  • Publications in physical media (printed publications, packaged electronic publications, microfilms, etc.):
    Must meet the criteria for the legal deposit system in Japan and actually be held or will be held by the NDL.
    For details, please refer to "Request for Deposits" (in Japanese).
  • Online journals:
    Must be published in separate volumes, leave the back issues available online, and indicate their place of publication which has to be inside Japan.
  • Databases which satisfy three conditions as follows:
    (1) currently published on a continuous basis
    (2) indicate the frequency
    (3) the latest date of updating

Please note that:

-The ISSN and the key-title of a publication correspond to each other. In principle, the ISSN of a publication must be changed when the key-title of the publication is modified significantly.

-The same publications in different mediums (for example, a printed journal and an online journal) must be assigned with different ISSN.

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ISSN Registration Procedures

After reading the description "Outline of the Requirements for ISSN Application", fill in the ISSN application form (web) to apply for an ISSN if your publication is appropriate for an ISSN:

  • *You can also send us the ISSN application form by e-mail, by fax or by postal mail:

In Japan, ISSN are assigned and maintained free of charge.

In general, the applicants are informed of the ISSN by advance notice within about one week of receiving the application.

In the case of publications already published but not yet possessed by the NDL, please send us the past issues as far back as possible for legal deposit. ISSN will be announced within about one week of receiving both the application and the past issues.

As application procedures for registration differ from one type of serial publication to another, the NDL welcomes inquiries on application and any other matters about ISSN.

Contact Us

Japanese National Centre for ISSN
Serials and Non-book Materials Division,
Acquisitions and Bibliography Department,
National Diet Library
Fax: +81-3-3581-1330
E-mail: issnjpnat n d l dot g o dot j p

Diagram of registration procedures

Firstly, an applicant applies to the Japanese National Centre for ISSN for an ISSN to be assigned to a publication. Secondly, as provisional registration, the Centre sends the applicant an advance notice to inform them of the assigned ISSN. Thirdly, in the case of online journals, applicants display the ISSN on the web site and notify the Centre of publication. In the case of other media formats, they display the ISSN on the publications and send them to the Centre as legal deposit. Fourthly, after the creation of the bibliographic data, the Centre will carry out formal registration and send a formal notice of the ISSN.

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Displaying an ISSN

The assigned ISSN should be displayed on the serial publication.

Displaying an ISSN

An ISSN consists of two groups of four digits separated by a hyphen and is preceded by the prefix ISSN in upper case separated by a space, as shown in the following example.

Example: ISSN 0914-6601

For serial publications in more than one media that have separate ISSN for each media, the individual ISSN may be displayed together. Each ISSN must be displayed with qualifying information, as shown in the following example.

Example:
ISSN 1234-5678 (Print), ISSN 1234-5555 (Online)
or
Print version: ISSN 1234-5678, Online version: ISSN 1234-5555

Position of display

For print publications, the ISSN should be displayed in the top right-hand corner of the front cover. If this is difficult due to design considerations or for other reasons, the ISSN may be printed in another prominent position on the front cover, the back cover, the title page, or the colophon.

For CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, and other packaged electronic publications, the ISSN should be displayed on the disc label, the disc case, the title screen, or other prominent position.

For online journals, the ISSN should be displayed with its corresponding title on the journal’s top page or on a page containing a list of published issues.

Examples of display of ISSN

Please refer to the following images:

Figures to show the examples of display of ISSN. In the case of print publications, in principle, at the top right-hand corner of the front cover. In the case of online journals, on the top page or the page which contains the title and lists the published issues of the journal.

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Construction of ISSN

The ISSN is a simple eight-digit identification number consisting of a seven-digit number plus a check digit. The eighth (last) digit number serves to prevent typographical errors and in some cases is replaced by the capital letter "X".

Unlike the ISBN (International Standard Book Number), the ISSN is a simple identification number without any meaning attached.

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Serial Publications and ISSN

From the viewpoint of bibliographic records, serial publications need continuous correction: i.e. they often undergo changes in their titles, publishers, frequency of publication, etc. Moreover, the number of published serials amounts to hundreds of thousands in the world and is said to be increasing at a pace of tens of thousands every year.

To gain accurate information on serials in spite of their nature and vast number is an important but challenging task for users, libraries, publishers, publication distributors, and vendors alike. In response, publishers and libraries draw upon computers to manage serials’ information and facilitate the distribution and use of serial publications.

Consequently, it has become necessary to identify serials by their code numbers, and the ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) is a widely recognized numbering system for serial publications.

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The Japanese National Centre for ISSN and the ISSN Network

Official logo of the Japanese National Centre for ISSN

The ISSN Network* is an international organization promoting the exchange of information on serial publications among ISSN National Centres with the ISSN International Centre at Paris serving as the data bank.

The ISSN Network consists of the ISSN International Centre (Paris, France) and ISSN National or Regional Centres located in various countries. The bibliographic data for publications with ISSN, which is assigned by each ISSN Centre, is finally registered to the database called the ISSN International Register. This database is maintained by the ISSN International Centre and contains all the authorized records.

For the details of the ISSN International Centre and the ISSN Network, please refer to the web page of the ISSN International Centre (in English and five other languages).

The NDL took over becoming a Japanese National Centre for ISDS ("ISDS" is the former name of the ISSN Network) in 1973, and has actively served as the Japanese National Centre for ISDS since January 1976. The name changed to Japanese National Centre for ISSN in 2002.

The Japanese Centre is in charge of the assignment and management of the ISSN for publications published in Japan. As its daily work, the Japanese Centre also corrects the data of the registered ISSN, for example, corresponding with changes to serial publications (i.e., change of publisher or editor, suspension or end of publication). In addition, when a publication with a changed key title is found, the Centre also advises the publisher to acquire an ISSN. If a publisher fails to print the ISSN already assigned, the NDL prompts the printing of the ISSN.

The Japanese National Centre for ISSN cannot achieve its full mission of promoting the ISSN Network without the cooperation of publishers. It is essential that publishers actually print the assigned ISSN on their serial publications and that, whenever planning to start a new publication or to change the title, the publishers notify the Japanese National Centre in advance. For this purpose, the NDL and publishers need to maintain close communication, and the NDL seeks all-out cooperation from government agencies, universities, academic societies, and other libraries.

* The ISSN Network was created as part of the UNISIST (World Science Information System) which was established through the resolution of the 1967 UNESCO general conference. In 1971 the ISO formulated a draft ISSN standard, followed in 1972 by the establishment of an international serials registration centre in Paris by the concerted effort of UNESCO and the French government.
UNESCO member nations were invited to create their own domestic or regional registration centres in order to expand the serials registration data to the world size.
As of April 2021, the ISSN Network embraced 92 National Centres.

Here is the link to the ISSN Manual used commonly in the ISSN Network:

Please note that:

The Japanese National Centre for ISSN deals with requests for ISSN somewhat differently from the description in the ISSN Manual.

The following are some examples:

-Regarding the applicants, the Japanese National Centre for ISSN assigns the ISSN only at the request of the publisher or the agent of the publisher who made some contribution for editing, production, printing, etc.

-Regarding publications in physical media (printed publications, packaged electronic publications, microfilms, etc.), the Japanese National Centre accepts applications only for publications which meet the criteria for the legal deposit system in Japan and are actually held or will be held by the NDL.

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Advantages of ISSN

The foremost advantage of ISSN is that any serial publication with an ISSN can be easily identified irrespective of its publishing country, publisher, language, or genre. Online catalogs or databases of libraries and some platforms of online journals are equipped with a search field for ISSN and it helps users to find and obtain a specific serial publication.

The ISSN is used to increase the efficiency of receiving, photocopying, lending, and indexing serials at libraries and placing orders, receiving and other business operations of publishers and book stores with a faster speed and greater accuracy. Citations in an article can also include ISSN so that readers can easily find each cited work. Furthermore, since ISSN are registered in an international database maintained by the ISSN International Centre, Japanese serial publications will have greater opportunities for overseas circulation.

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ISSN and Key Titles *

A key title is a unique title created for registration of an ISSN. It establishes an inseparable one-to-one correspondence between each serial publication and its ISSN.

Like an ISSN which is a unique number, a key title is also unique: i.e. one key title cannot be shared by more than one publication.

Once assigned to a publication, an ISSN will never be reused in another publication even if the first publication becomes defunct.

If the key title must be changed, the ISSN of the publication is also changed irrespective of the reasons for change such as the merger or split of serial publications.

Key titles are established by the ISSN Network in accordance with its cataloging rules. It is the national centres that assign an ISSN, record the key title and carry out international registration for each serial publication published in their respective countries.

Applicants are informed of the ISSN and the key title by the formal notice of ISSN (only in Japanese) sent by the Japanese Centre.

* The key title is the Romanized form of the title proper (=main title) of a serial publication. In the case of a title proper in a Western language, in principle, the key title is identical with the title proper. If there are more than one publication which share the same title proper, the one which is registered later will have qualifying information.

If a publication has its key title in a Western language, the abbreviated key title is also recorded. Abbreviations are made according to the "List of Serial Title Word Abbreviations" developed jointly by the ISSN International Centre and ISO.

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Outline of ISSN-L

ISSN-L is an abbreviation for Linking ISSN. If a publication is published in more than one media format, they share the same ISSN-L though the ISSN assigned for each format differ from each other. An ISSN-L is the same as one of the ISSN for the publications which share the same ISSN-L.

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Provision of the Bibliographic Data of Online Resources Published in Japan with ISSN

ISSN assigned for online resources published in Japan, which have been registered and maintained by the Japanese National Centre for ISSN, are available in the bibliographic records contained in NDL Search and NDL Online.

Search and download via NDL Search

NDL Search can be searched by title, publisher, ISSN, etc. If there are too many search results, the "Refine my results" feature is available to refine by "Format: Digital Material" and "Database: NDL Online" ("Library: National Diet Library" also works) to exclude bibliographic data other than online resources. The URL of the journal is not contained in the "details" page, it is found in the RDF file which can be obtained by clicking "Bibliographic information is output in DC-NDL (RDF)" under "Search result is output" in the right column of the "details" page. The string "<owl:sameAs rdf:resource=" precedes the URL.

Search and download via NDL Online

NDL Online also contains the bibliographic data of online resources with ISSN published in Japan. They can be searched by putting the value "ISSN" into the "Call No." field in "advanced search" and filling in the fields for title, publisher, ISSN, etc. By clicking "Available Online" under "Refine Your Search" to the left of "Search Results," materials other than online resources are excluded from the results. The materials which have the icon of a cloud on the left of the title and contain "<ISSN>" in the list of bibliographic information are online resources with ISSN published in Japan. Though the URLs do not appear in "Search Results," these can be displayed by clicking each title in "Search Results". Bibliographic records contain a URL (or URLs) preceded by the word "Source".

To download retrieved data, display "Search Results," select "20 results per page," "50 results per page," or "100 results per page" as a Sort option, and click "Apply" button.

* The maximum data that can be downloaded is 100. Search results should be refined or sorted in advance so that they can be less than 100.

To download all records displayed on the page, click the "Select All" checkbox and use the pull-down menu to select either "Download Bibliographic Record (tsv) " or "Download Bibliographic Record (BibTeX)" and click the "Submit" button. To download one or more records selected from the results, click the checkbox to the left of selected records, instead of clicking the "Select All" checkbox.

List of online journals, etc. published in Japan with ISSN

A list of online journals, etc. published in Japan with ISSN is also provided in CSV format.

Bibliographic records of online journals, etc. published in Japan are included in the list when they apply for an ISSN and the records are sent to the ISSN International Centre. Updated twice a year.

WARP (Web Archiving Project) and National Diet Library Digital Collections (Online publications) provide online journals collected by the National Diet Library based on the National Diet Library Law or permission from the publishers. The collection can be searched by ISSN, etc.

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Provision of the Bibliographic Data for Publications in Tangible Formats (formats such as print, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, etc.) Published in Japan with ISSN

ISSN assigned for publications in tangible formats are also made available through the data in NDL Search or NDL Online.

Please note:

Bibliographic data of publications in tangible formats which are not categorized as serials (such as monograph series) in the NDL neither contain ISSN in the data nor can publications which do not display their ISSN (by mistake or in the case of back issues which had already been published before the application) be searched for by the ISSN.

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Outline of the ISSN Portal

The ISSN International Centre holds all the bibliographic data of ISSN in the world in the ISSN International Register (the official registration database for ISSN) and provides them on the web via the ISSN Portal (https://portal.issn.org/) (opens in another window). As of the end of 2020, 2,175,883 ISSN are contained in the ISSN Portal.

After January 2018, essential fields of all the records for ISSN registered as standard numbers can be searched and utilized free of charge.

* Homepage of ISSN Portal (opens in another window)

Bibliographic data with ISSN is Romanized before registration in the ISSN International Centre. ISSN Portal can NOT be searched using Chinese characters or Japanese kana.

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Outline of ROAD

ROAD (Directory of Open Access scholarly Resources) (https://road.issn.org/) (opens in another window) is a service provided by the ISSN International Centre with support from UNESCO. In July 2018, ROAD was integrated into the ISSN Portal.

ROAD provides free access to a subset of ISSN bibliographic records for scholarly resources in open access (online journals, conference proceedings, academic repositories, etc.) which have been registered in the ISSN Portal.

* Homepage of ROAD (Directory of Open Access scholarly Resources. Opens in another window)

The main purposes of ROAD are as follows:

  • To provide a single access point to different types of online scholarly resources published worldwide and freely available.
  • To provide information about the quality and prominence of OA resources, indicating by which services they are covered.
  • To give an overview of the Open Access scholarly production worldwide (for statistics purposes for instance).
  • To demonstrate new ways of using the ISSN for compiling information from various sources.

In March 2015, the Japanese National Centre for ISSN started to send bibliographic data to ROAD. Online journals published in Japan with ISSN which meet all the following requirements are registered:

  • *FREE content permitting any users to read, download, copy, print or link it
  • *The entirety of their resources are accessible
  • *Peer-reviewed academic journal

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ISSN and Deposits of Online Publications

After July 2013, similar to the legal deposit system but for print or packaged electronic publications, the National Diet Library collects and preserves online publications published by the private sector such as e-books and e-magazines. Online resources with ISSN fall into the category of e-periodicals "granted specific codes (ISBN, ISSN, DOI)," which are subject to the legal deposit system. However, at the moment, online publications with DRM or available for a charge are not collected, even if they are assigned an ISSN.

For the details of deposits of online publications, please refer to the FAQ.

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Contact Us

Japanese National Centre for ISSN
Serials and Non-book Materials Division, Acquisitions and Bibliography
Department, National Diet Library
Fax: +81-3-3581-1330
E-mail: issnjpnat n d l dot g o dot j p

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