The recent European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) declaration has highlighted the importance of FAIR principles (see table below) for research data and the leading role that the European Union wants to play in this field. The declaration highlighted the need for a minimal set of interoperable research data standards, such as the ones discussed later in this report, for supporting this. Interoperable data standards for describing research data and metadata are expected to deliver the following benefits:
- Easier and faster findability of research data and metadata.
- Reduce the time for making data and metadata from different research disciplines and countries interoperable.
- Enable the integration and publishing of research datasets on general purpose open data portals, such as the European Data Portal.
In order to achieve the aforementioned benefits, one of the interoperability building blocks required is a common agreement for representing and exchanging research metadata both between research data repositories themselves and also between research data repositories and general purpose open data portals. To this end, this study investigates the suitability of the DCAT-AP for playing the role of this common agreement. The DCAT-AP is already successfully being used for facilitating the exchange of datasets metadata between general-purpose open data portals, and its applicability has been proven in the field of geospatial and statistical metadata.
For assessing the suitability of the DCAT-AP as the common information exchange agreement for research metadata, we explore the alignment between the DCAT-AP and other metadata models used to describe research datasets by defining mappings.
The FAIR principles:
|Findable: i.e. discoverable with machine readable metadata, identifiable and locatable by means of a standard identification mechanism.|
|Accessible: i.e. available and obtainable.|
|Interoperable: i.e. both syntactically parseable and semantically understandable, allowing data exchange and reuse among scientific disciplines, researchers, institutions, organisations and countries.|
|Reusable: i.e. sufficiently described and shared with the least restrictive licences, allowing the widest reuse possible across scientific disciplines and borders, and the least cumbersome integration with other data sources.|
The report is available for reading in different formats below.