Updating our metadata schema suggestions process

https://doi.org/10.5438/vacd-ve62

As a community-driven organization, we believe it is critical that our members shape the DataCite metadata schema. The Metadata Working Group consists of 10-16 community representatives, who work on improving the metadata schema based on what we learn from the DataCite community. For the upcoming metadata schema 4.5, we launched our first community feedback process this fall to gather your input on the draft metadata schema. We’ve also heard that our community would like more involvement in shaping the metadata schema before changes reach the proposal stage. 

As of today, we’re launching a streamlined process for sharing your metadata schema ideas with us. We are also introducing a way to help you see which suggestions are on track for consideration in future versions, and to join community discussions about these suggestions.

We’ve refreshed our metadata schema website and added a new page outlining the process. Below, we want to highlight some of the key aspects of this change and explain what it means for you.

DataCite Metadata Schema suggestions process

Suggesting metadata schema changes

If you have a new idea for a change to the DataCite Metadata Schema, please let us know through the Metadata Schema Change Suggestions form. This form asks a few metadata-specific questions to help us understand what you’re requesting and what problem the change would solve.

Previously, we had asked that you submit schema change suggestions through our Product Roadmap. If you’re not sure if something is a schema change suggestion or not, don’t worry! We’ll still get your suggestion.

What happens to suggestions

All suggestions are first reviewed by the DataCite team. We want to make sure that in addition to understanding the proposed change, we understand the underlying problem you’re trying to solve. This helps us evaluate whether updating the DataCite Metadata Schema is the right solution to the problem and to consider other approaches. 

If your suggestion seems like a good fit for the DataCite Metadata Schema, we’ll add it to the DataCite Metadata Schema Trello board in the Community Discussion section to start gathering input from the DataCite community.

We prioritize ideas that have the potential to solve problems for many users. As part of the evaluation process, we look for patterns across suggestions, support tickets, and other sources. This means that most suggestions won’t be added to the board right away, but we are working on them behind the scenes.

How we are processing suggestions submitted previously

Previously, we had asked that you submit metadata schema change suggestions through our Product Roadmap. We received many ideas this way, and we currently have dozens in our backlog. At present, we are in the process of reviewing them to help prioritize changes for metadata schema 5.0 (and beyond). As we review them and determine prioritization, you’ll start to see more suggestions appear on the DataCite Metadata Schema Trello board.

(If you happen to submit a metadata schema suggestion through the Product Roadmap after today, don’t worry! While we encourage you to use the new metadata-specific form, we’ll still review your suggestion.)

How the metadata schema development stages work

Each stage on the DataCite Metadata Schema Trello board contains ideas that we’ve received. Ideas can move forwards and backwards through the stages depending on the progress of each stage.

Community Discussion

For ideas in Community Discussion, we are actively seeking input from the DataCite community.

We use the DataCite Chat Room category of the PID Forum to encourage open discussion of the ideas under consideration. We also may invite you to present your ideas in a DataCite Open Hours session (or we can present on your behalf).

The DataCite team decides when to forward ideas to the next stage—Metadata Working Group Discussion—based on several factors, including the level of community support, feasibility, and resources. This means that while some changes will move to the next stage quickly, others may remain in community discussion for longer.

Once an idea is no longer under consideration—usually due to lack of community support—it may be removed from this board. If this changes, we can always resurface the idea.

Metadata Working Group Discussion

These ideas have been forwarded to the DataCite Metadata Working Group. In this stage, the DataCite Metadata Working Group is actively considering—or about to consider—how to adapt the DataCite Metadata Schema to solve the underlying problem.

During this stage, we’re still seeking input from the DataCite community, and you can continue to contribute to discussions.

Because each metadata schema version takes around one to two years to complete, ideas typically remain in this stage for at least one year. If the Metadata Working Group determines that the optimal solution involves breaking changes—changes which are incompatible with the previous version— the idea could stay here for even longer. This is because we can only introduce breaking changes in major versions (4.0, 5.0, etc.).

Once the Metadata Working Group has finalized a proposal for the next metadata schema version, ideas included in that proposal will be moved to the next stage: Proposed.

Proposed

Ideas with proposed changes are on track to be included in the next metadata schema release, pending community feedback.

During this stage, we’re looking for input on the proposed change, which may be different from the original idea. For this reason, we encourage you to follow the instructions on the card for participating in our community feedback process.

Released

Released ideas have corresponding changes that have been included in a recent metadata schema release. (Since the board is new, there’s nothing yet—you’ll see the metadata schema 4.5 changes move here as they are finalized.)

Help us shape metadata schema 5.0

If you have an idea for the metadata schema, please let us know through the Metadata Schema Change Suggestions form. We also encourage you to check out the DataCite Metadata Schema Trello board to see what we’re working on and participate in the linked community discussions on the PID Forum.