The non-profit association Crossref has made a positive step in offering open access to citation data in scholarly databases, but additional steps from others could open the door to identifying research trends and pinpointing questionable citation practices, write the editors of Nature. The editors describe how initiatives such as the Initiative for Open Citations have made citation data more transparent and easier to access. However, to maximize the benefits of this publicly available data, a more concerted effort from scholarly publishers and others is needed. The authors further argue that citation data should not be considered optional, and encourage publishers to post other metadata and make abstracts more openly accessible. Nature Note: Archived stories may contain dead links or be missing source links.