sponsoring checkCIF

checkCIF is sponsored by

[IUCr Journals]

[Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre]

[American Chemical Society]




[Royal Society of Chemistry]

[Chemical Society of Japan]

A service of the
International Union of Crystallography

checkCIF reports on the consistency and integrity of crystal structure determinations reported in CIF format.


The scientific evaluation of crystal structure reports submitted for journal publication or for deposit in structural databases involves detailed checking of the internal consistency and chemical sense of the reported structure.

The adoption by the International Union of Crystallography in 1991 of a standard file format for crystallographic data - the Crystallographic Information File, or CIF - makes it easier to check all structures reported in this standard format. Since 1991 the journals of the IUCr have subjected all submitted structure reports to an extensive series of checks designed to detect gross errors and inconsistencies in the structures, and to provide a measure of the reasonableness of the structure-related chemistry of the compound under study.

The IUCr is now providing an opportunity to publishers and other interested parties to help support the provision of this service to all potential authors and depositors.

Why be a sponsor?

Providing authors with the tools to check that their structures are of the best attainable quality, and providing editors and reviewers with the opportunity to check submitted structures, will help to improve the quality of the published literature and the contents of related databases. They will therefore be more useful as knowledge resources, and science as a whole will benefit.

Publishers and databases with an interest in maintaining high-quality results may demonstrate that interest through their support for the checkCIF service, and through referrals or recommendations in their Notes for Authors and Depositors.

Financial support of the standard service will ensure that the IUCr can provide the necessary hardware and infrastructure to maintain it as a service free at the point of use to the scientific community. In this way authors will be encouraged to become familiar with the need to check structures and the meaning of the reports generated by the software. The intention is to encourage all structures to be processed through checkCIF as a matter of course.

Going further

The standard checkCIF tests provide a standard and objective metric of a structure determination. How journals or databases choose to respond to the results of the tests is up to them to decide. It is expected that for most journals a checkCIF report will be seen by a referee or Editor as one among many elements of the peer review procedures.

However, in some cases a publisher may wish to develop modified tests that could be used as part of the accept/reject decision-making process for a specific journal. In such a case the publisher may work with the IUCr technical staff to develop a bespoke checking system. Such development would be charged at an appropriate rate.


If you wish to contribute to the maintenance and development of checkCIF, please contact the Executive Secretary of the IUCr.