Metadata – vital information in the digital age

TIB hosts Crossref LIVE event

In view of the rapidly increasing number of scientific publications with a wide array of publication possibilities, it is more  important than ever to accurately describe and locate scientific content. Metadata meets this need by providing structured information about such content. All participants in the scientific communication process have an interest in ensuring that this is done as precisely and that it is as standardised as possible. This is where the non-profit initiative Crossref comes in, which since its inception in 2000 has set itself the goal of making research outputs easy to find, cite, link, and assess.

The most recent Crossref seminar, took place at the TIB on 27 June 2018, with approximately 50 attendees. The focus of the seminar was to clarify the aims of the organisation, as well as to provide information on the different services, and upcoming new developments that members can participate in to meet these shared goals.  Discussions also centred on the various applications of cross-referenced metadata and the potential for improvements to the metadata submitted to Crossref, which included, among other things, the standardised recording of institutions (Organisational IDs) - analogous to the clear identification of authors by ORCID IDs. Additionally, it became clear that as well as the unambiguous identification of articles and other scholarly content items using DOIs, assigning identifiers to conferences is also becoming increasingly important. Reference linking, plagiarism detection, research funding information and research data can also be clearly mapped and linked together using metadata. In this way, it ensures comprehensive traceability of information as well as aiding the  evaluation and further use of research outputs.

This is driven forward through various initiatives, such as Metadata 2020 and the Initiative For Open Citations (I4OC). Crossref also works collaboratively with DataCite, a non-profit association, based at the TIB, whose goal is to make global research data discoverable, citable, linked and reusable. Both DOI registration agencies work with the international research community to develop standards for article data citation and work together on the Crossref Event Data Service, which provides greater transparency around the way interactions with scholarly research occur onlin. Furthermore, both partners are actively involved in the EU-funded project "FREYA", which supplements the PID landscape, as part of the planned European Open Science Cloud, with additional persistent identifiers (PIDs), e.g. for software, conferences, organisations and instruments, and integrates domain-specific PIDs.

Conclusion: As different as the information needs of libraries, publishing houses, data centres, platforms or individual scientists may be, complete, accurate metadata is indispensable to all those working in the academic research community. In close cooperation with its more than 10,000 members, Crossref will continue to work intensively to ensure that such information is as complete and open as possible.