Proposed DataCite Metadata Schema Changes: Your Feedback Needed!

The DataCite Metadata Working Group has been working on the next version of the metadata schema—and we need your feedback!

Over the past year and a half, the Metadata Working Group has been working on changes to support the evolving use cases for DataCite DOIs. These proposed updates are in response to requests from DataCite community members and also in alignment with pillar 3 of DataCite’s strategic plan—that is, to “identify and connect all resource types held by research organizations globally.”
We want to make sure these changes work—that they solve the problems that they are intended to solve—and we want to hear from you! For the first time, we are sharing a draft proposal before releasing the next metadata schema version. You can find it here:

DataCite Metadata Schema 4.5: Request for Comments

We are interested in your comments, questions, and suggestions about the entire metadata schema—but we are particularly focused on the Version 4.5 proposed changes. These include:

  • Support for instruments
  • Support for pre-registrations and registration reports
  • Support for publisher identifiers
  • New Distribution property
  • Clarifications to RelatedItem property
  • Updated PhysicalObject definition

How to share feedback

There are a few different ways to share feedback with us. Here is a brief overview—for more details, head to DataCite Metadata Schema 4.5: Request for Comments, where we cover all of this in the Overview section. 

The schema change proposal will be open for comment through October 17, 2022.

Deadline extended to October 31, 2022.

Comment on the summary document

The summary document includes the major changes for Version 4.5. Here, you can leave comments and suggestions on all major proposed changes for Version 4.5, organized by use case. We have also shared some preliminary thoughts on the direction we’re heading for Version 5.0.

(If you need it, we have also made the summary document available as a PDF.)

Comment on the full draft schema

If you would like to comment on the full draft schema, it is available online here: 

To leave feedback, scroll down to the bottom of a given page and use the comment box. You will need a GitHub account to use this feature.

Other ways to share feedback

Our goal is to make this feedback process as accessible and transparent as possible. If the above options do not work for you, and you would like to share your feedback publicly, please send your feedback to and indicate that you would like us to post it on your behalf. You can also email us with any questions about the process.

What happens next?

Over the next several months, we will be focusing on reviewing your feedback and getting everything ready for the release of Version 4.5 in early 2023.

Reviewing and incorporating feedback

After the comment period, the Metadata Working Group will consider your feedback and make a decision as to how to incorporate the feedback in Version 4.5, consider for future releases, or adapt feedback based on community consensus. 

Refining our documentation

We are excited about a new format for the metadata schema documentation: we are trying out Read the Docs, which uses a documentation generator (sphinx) to create a website for the documentation from a series of text files. Hopefully, this is easier to navigate than the previous PDF document. Please let us know if there are ways it could be improved—it is still a work in progress! (And if you prefer the PDF format, fear not: the same set of text files will be used to generate a PDF too.)

Updating the XML examples

While you are reviewing this schema change proposal, we will also be busy updating the XML examples, which we plan to share alongside the final release of Version 4.5.

Planning for 5.0

The last major version of the DataCite Metadata Schema was Version 4.0, which was released in September 2016—almost six years ago! All minor versions (4.X) are backwards compatible with Version 4.0, meaning that they do not introduce breaking changes. 

While working on Version 4.5, we encountered several challenges where the optimal solution would require a breaking change. Some of these ideas are outlined in the “Future Directions: Version 5.0 and beyond” section of the summary document.

Our next big project is to start addressing these challenges—along with many others we have heard from the community—in Version 5.0. In the coming months, we will share more about how you can follow what we are working on,contribute ideas, and collaborate with us on solutions.

Closing thoughts

Please leave us your comments, questions, and suggestions in the summary document or on the full schema draft before October 17, 2022. 

Deadline extended to October 31, 2022.

As a member-driven organization, we are pleased to open the DataCite metadata schema review process to the public. In this way, we want to ensure that all feedback from the community is heard, because a global standard can only evolve in accordance with the people who use it. We therefore look forward to hearing from you!