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Transition metal doped boron carbides produced by plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition of orthocarborane (closo-1,2-C2B10H12) and 3d metal metallocenes were investigated by performing K-edge extended x-ray absorption fine structure and x-ray absorption near edge structure measurements. The 3d transition metal atom occupies one of the icosahedral boron or carbon atomic sites within the icosahedral cage. Good agreement was obtained between experiment and models for Mn, Fe and Co doping, based on the model structures of two adjoined vertex sharing carborane cages, each containing a transition metal. The local spin configurations of all the 3d transition metal doped boron carbides, Ti through Cu, are compared using cluster and/or icosahedral chain calculations, where the latter have periodic boundary conditions.