Metadata describes the research data. Information about the creator, license, relevant dates, title, year of publication, repository, identifier and summary statistics can all be metadata. There are two main types:
- Basic bibliographic information that is needed to retrieve the research data and make citations.
- The description of the research data, how it was created, the software used to produce it, etc.
Start documenting data during the research
To facilitate providing the metadata you should think about it already during the research work. You can start by listing this information in a README file.
Metadata is needed to publish data
When publishing data, you need to enter the metadata in a structured form. The metadata is used for cataloging, archiving, and searching. Within Aalto, data will be archived in the research information management system, ACRIS, and harvested to the national metadata catalogue, Etsin, in the future.
- ACRIS uses a CERIF-compliant metadata model
- FSD (Finnish Social Sciences Data Archive) uses the DDI metadata model. FSD staff can help add the metadata to materials that are stored and opened in the repository, for example interviews.
- Zenodo accepts several metadata standards
Discipline-specific repositories may have special fields required in order to catalog and archive in a way that is useful to their discipline.
The uses and the discipline-specific needs direct the selection of metadata standard. More information:
- General Metadata standards listed by the Digital Curation Center (DCC) UK
- Discipline-specific metadata standards listed by the Digital Curation Center (DCC) UK
- Metadata standards by topic listed by the Research Data Alliance (RDA)
Global persistent identifier
Persistent identifiers identify online resources, such as datasets, by providing a permanent link to them. Even if the data changes location on the Internet, the identifier remains the same and will still link to the data, regardless of the new location. It can also provide versioning.
Two common types of persistent identifiers are DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and Handle e.g.:
When archiving data to a repository, some repositories provide unique identifiers. Only use repositories that provide persistent identifiers.