Researchers, institutions, funders, and publishers all face challenges across the metadata management lifecycle. These challenges make it difficult for stakeholders in the scholarly communications ecosystem to easily find collaborators, authenticate to content, and access Open Access funding.
To help the scholarly communications community address this issue, CCC and Media Growth Strategies teamed up to study metadata management across the research lifecycle. Our in-depth review looked to expand upon existing research and resources to further uncover policy and system complexities and breakages that create missed funding and access opportunities for the communities that open access and open science models are designed to serve.
This is the first in a series of blog posts in which CCC shares this analysis with the scholarly community to spark dialogue and drive action with respect to metadata management during each stage of the research lifecycle. We explore the challenges of each stage, how each stakeholder group is affected, and the resulting impact when these challenges persist.
We start by presenting the metadata challenges researchers and others face during the idea development and proposal preparation stages.
Underutilization of PIDs Disrupts Research Funding and Content Authentication
As researchers develop ideas and begin to prepare proposals to secure funding, they collaborate with colleagues and library staff. Even at this first stage, we see metadata challenges emerge given the underutilization of persistent identifier systems such as ORCID and ISNI. Some institutions don’t require researchers to use PIDs, and some PID systems may not be accessible to researchers in every geography. Where PIDs are used, the records can be inaccurate if researchers and others don’t consistently keep them up-to-date.
PIDs are vital because they uniquely identify entities including people, places, and things (or objects). For example, PIDs can identify researchers, which organizations those researchers are affiliated with, and what research output they contribute to. They make it easy for institutions and publishers to look up authors and their bibliographic output—along with other professional information, including affiliations, grants, publications, and peer reviews. Without content that is tagged properly with high-quality metadata, researchers may also miss relevant content as they review existing research. Researchers can also use their PIDs to share information with other systems.
If authors can’t be identified with a standard PID, they may not be able to authenticate to content and receive proper credit for their work. They will also find it more difficult to secure open-access funding, and downstream processes will require unnecessary manual effort by publishers, institutions, and funders as they disambiguate authors.
Metadata Stewardship Leads to Smoother Open Access and Greater Research Integrity
Solving the PID underutilization challenge has become more important as the scholarly community continues to shift to full open access. Stakeholders recognize that new strategies, inclusive policies, and a robust network of interoperable data and systems are essential for making critical infrastructure improvements.
A dedication to metadata stewardship across each stakeholder group and the service providers supporting them is vital. This will lead not only to a smoother open access transition but also to greater research integrity, data sharing, trustworthy metrics on research impact—and a responsive, equitable rewards and recognition system.
A key artifact that we developed by leveraging the data and insights we gained from this study is an interactive report. This report guides you through metadata management across the research lifecycle—highlighting the challenges, related impacts, and key decision points. The report also offers the opportunity for you to provide your own input and feedback.
In our next blog post, we discuss the metadata challenges faced by researchers, institutions, and funders during the proposal submission stage. To learn more, please visit The State of Scholarly Metadata: 2023 and provide your input through the Feedback function.