14 September 2017
Metadata 2020 is a new global initiative, organised to draw together people and organisations from all over the world. Its goal is to rally and support the academic community around the critical issue of sharing richer metadata for research communications.
The collaboration, which is being overseen by Crossref, involves researchers, publishers, aggregators, service providers, librarians, and funders who will commit to improving the quality and interoperability of their metadata. Crucially, Metadata 2020 aims to enhance communication between the different communities involved in scholarly communications, through sharing stories and resources, providing education and support to everyone seeking to improve their metadata.
The role of Editors is key in this collaboration, given our very hands-on involvement in adding the metadata into the ecosystem, our perspective on the use of metadata in publishing, and the nature of our interaction with so many scholarly communications groups who produce, use, and work with metadata.
Across the full research community, we struggle with a consistency in the formats and quality of metadata. Properly structuring metadata makes it easy to find, retrieve and coordinate information for individuals and cross-organisational platforms.
For example, in many instances, publishers and data repositories set up metadata feeds to Crossref or Datacite when they launch, but do not go back to update any of the configurations later if any change to data forms or workflows are made. Another example addresses attitudes in attention to detail and the global impact it may have – if there are mistakes in the content of metadata, corrections tend to receive less care and oversight than they should, relative to how much it is actually worth to all of us. And as a final example: in a blog post on the University of Cambridge Schol Comms blog, Dr Danny Kingsley writes:
“Researchers cannot be expected to share their data at the end of their research project if they are unable to locate their data, if the data is not correctly labelled or if it lacks metadata to make the data re-usable.”
The reality is that most scholarly communications infrastructure is based on the metadata, so quality is key to all of our success. It is our shared responsibility, and through increasing awareness of its value, and implementation of high quality practices, we will see shared benefits.
Metadata 2020 is taking the approach of organizing smaller community-focused groups for funders, data repos, researchers, etc. to help articulate specific case studies on the financial and community benefits of better metadata. It would be great to have your help!