At Interfolio, we deal with data about faculty and their research, day in and day out.
Much of the data that colleges and universities collect through our faculty activity reporting system is referred to as “metadata”—that is, data about data. For instance, the following fields are considered metadata about a published journal article: author names, article title, journal name, date published. Similarly, scholarly metrics about an article, such as times cited and journal impact factor, are also considered metadata.
There are numerous benefits to having metadata in a fielded format. Fielded faculty data is richer than unparsed data (for instance, information in a CV that’s in a .DOC or .PDF format) because it allows the information to be repurposed over and over to support the reporting needs of numerous stakeholder groups: faculty members, administrators, academic institutions, accrediting bodies, legislatures, and more. As an example of the variety of output options provided, the fielded faculty data collected in our platform can generate faculty members’ CVs, web profiles, and a structured table in an accreditation report—all from the same faculty data repository. Fielded metadata, coupled with the ability to collaborate with numerous data partners on the input side and output side, provides a very robust data environment.
At Interfolio, our appreciation of faculty data and its associated metadata, and our interest in the efficient and effective collection and use of faculty data, have prompted our participation in Metadata 2020 (www.metadata2020.org). Metadata 2020 is an organization launched last month, founded by Crossref and led by several associations, publishers, universities, technology vendors, and other supporters of the scholarly-data ecosystem.
As per its website:
“Metadata 2020 is a collaboration that advocates richer, connected and reusable, open metadata for all research outputs, which will advance scholarly pursuits for the benefit of society.”
We find a solid congruency between the values of Metadata 2020 and ours. They support improved standardization in data collection, greater accessibility to the data collected, enhanced connectivity between systems, reduced duplication to enhance efficiency, and improved usefulness. And so do we at Interfolio.
Currently, we are involved in two subgroups within Metadata 2020, each with the mission to provide foundational structures that pertain to the processes, production, and dissemination of the metadata associated with scholarly work:
- The Researcher Group is focusing on establishing and communicating the needs, responsibilities and processes of collecting and using metadata for the researchers who produce the scholarly works about which metadata is collected. Because this group is aligned with understanding the processes and needs of researchers, we are excited about what what we can learn from the members. Likewise, we have a great deal to contribute concerning the experiences of faculty members and academic institutions in collecting, validating, and using scholarly metadata. Interfolio may also support the organization because of our positive relationship with over a million scholars and hundreds of academic institutions.
- The Service Providers Group will focus on the role, needs, and processes of organizations that provide services related to the production and dissemination of scholarly works, and related information. Identifying the “metadata pain points” within these processes will be a major focus. The members of this group are representatives from organizations that support scholarly publishing, and the collection and distribution of data about scholarly works. As a service provider ourselves, we believe Interfolio can contribute to the discussion based on our work with faculty members and academic institutions in the efficient collection of rich metadata through connectivity with scholarly data sources that are both providers and users of the metadata we collect.
We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the efforts of Metadata 2020. We believe Interfolio can help and can communicate the perspective and needs of faculty members and academic institutions to this committed group and this worthwhile cause.
Interfolio will be sharing Metadata 2020’s initiatives for the research and data communities at the upcoming National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s symposium, International Coordination for Science Data Infrastructure, on November 1, 2017, in Washington, DC.