Research at Risk

Research Data Metadata

In this blog post John Kaye outlines the aims, objectives and content for a Jisc hosted Research Data Metadata event to be held in London on Tuesday 7th July. There are a few places available – if you’re interested, register here for the metadata workshop.

During the consultation for Jisc’s Research at Risk challenge area the need for a discipline neutral metadata specification was identified as a strong requirement from UK universities.

A number of informal specifications have been developed by institutions to catalogue and register research data within central institutional research systems (repositories, registries, current research information systems etc.), however no formal standard meeting the requirements of both discovery and administration currently exists. When we consulted on what was required in the area there was a call for Jisc to help to build a consensus on a schema covering these aspects

During the Research Data Metadata Workshop

There has been activity in universities and data archives to address these requirements but the sense is that there is a need for further sharing of what has been done in order to build a common view that can then inform common practice and implementation. In the workshop there will be an opportunity to hear about the different discipline neutral schemas currently in use in different institutional research systems and about institutions’ experiences in implementing these specifications and what successes and challenges these brought to RDM practitioners and researchers. The main aim of the event is to start to build consensus around what a discipline neutral metadata specification may look like and to begin a journey to formalising such a specification.

The day will look at how individual institutions have implemented specifications, such as The University of Glasgow’s EPrints for Research Data and look at how a regional approach, in the N8 Consortium, has tackled this problem. We will also hear from other institutions in the workshop about their experiences in this area.

One of the challenges of a discipline neutral specification is that it loses some of the granularity and detail that certain researchers may need from an established discipline led metadata schema, such as DDI in the social sciences, so the workshop will explore the possibilities link and marry up the two contrasting types of specifications

In the workshop we also consider what the specification will need to contain to meet the requirements of ‘metadata consumers’ that feed into the wider  national and international scholarly communications infrastructure; such as Jisc’s UK Research Data Discovery Service,    DataCite, ORCID and the European Commission’s Horizon2020  research data requirements through OpenAIRE

Possibilities of automating metadata collection to reduce the burden on researchers and practitioners will also be discussed. For example how internal Current Research Information Management Systems can be leveraged and the UK Data Service will explain how their ReShare deposit system utilises the API provided by RCUK’s Gateway to Research to harvest data about grant funded projects. We will also look at the future potential for exposing research data metadata through Organisational Profile Documents

Research system providers, vendors and suppliers will be in attendance on the day and they will have a chance to comment on how they see a discipline neutral metadata specification working within the systems that they produce. Finally the next steps to formalise such a specification will be considered,

Jisc will be recording the discussions from the day and will be producing a report with recommendations for next steps. There are a limited number of places left for the workshop, so please register if you are free to attend. You will also be able to follow the event on Twitter through the #JiscRDM hashtag  and a summary of the event will be published on this blog.

About the author:

John Kaye is a senior co-design manager within the research team at Jisc. He is also responsible for the Research at Risk work around shared services for research data. You can follow him on twitter @JohnPKaye.