Publication: ...Metadata Awareness, Knowledge, & Use...

What do researchers, publishers, librarians, and data repository managers understand about the role of metadata in their work? Metadata is descriptive information about research resources themselves, and it provides important insights for discovering new knowledge, organizing resources, and understanding who the experts are in any field. In this comprehensive study, these constituents responded to a survey to reveal their awareness, knowledge and use of metadata. The results were analyzed and published in the peer reviewed academic journal, Quantitative Science Studies by MIT Press.

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Background: The Metadata 2020 initiative is an ongoing effort to bring various scholarly communications stakeholder groups together to promote principles and standards of practice to improve the quality of metadata. To understand the perspectives and practices regarding metadata of the main stakeholder groups (librarians, publishers, researchers and repository managers), we conducted a survey during summer 2019. The survey content was generated by representatives from the stakeholder groups.

Methods: A link to an online survey (17 or 18 questions depending on the group) was distributed through multiple social media, listserv, and blog outlets. Responses were anonymous, with an optional entry for names and email addresses for those who were willing to be contacted later.

Results: Complete responses (N=211; 87 librarians, 27 publishers, 48 repository managers, and 49 researchers) representing 23 countries on four continents were analyzed and summarized for thematic content and ranking of awareness and practices.

Conclusions: Across the stakeholder groups, the level of awareness and usage of metadata methods and practices was highly variable. Clear gaps across the groups point to the need for consolidation of schema and practices, as well as broad educational efforts in order to increase knowledge and implementation of metadata in scholarly communications.

Kathryn A. Kaiser, Michelle Urberg, Maria Johnsson, Jennifer Kemp, Alice Meadows, Laura Paglione; An international, multistakeholder survey about metadata awareness, knowledge, and use in scholarly communications. Quantitative Science Studies 2021; 2 (2): 454–473. doi:

Analysis of the data collected during the 2019 survey. Each stakeholder group is analyzed separately and cross-stakeholder themes and insights are shared. The paper concludes with recommended areas for future study.

Kaiser, K., Urberg, M., Johnsson, M., Kemp, J., Meadows, A., & Paglione, L. (2021). Metadata 2020 metadata usage survey methods and results summary (Version 0.1.0). Zenodo.

This appendix represents an analyzed data set of the raw data collected for the Metadata 2020 survey. The purpose of the data summary is to draw attention to the unique responses of each stakeholder group. The authors of this article jointly analyzed and developed this analysis.

Metadata 2020, Kaiser, K., Urberg, M., Johnsson, M., Kemp, J., Meadows, A., & Paglione, L. (2021). Metadata 2020 metadata usage survey questions (Version 0.1.0). Zenodo.

This document records the finalized version of the survey that was distributed, following IRB approval, to a broad number of communities. The questions were answered by participants self-identifying as researchers, publishers, librarians, and repository managers. The purpose of these questions was to assess how metadata is understood by stakeholders in the scholarly communications life cycle. To the designers’ best knowledge, no other survey had previously attempted to analyze knowledge about, and perceptions of metadata associated with publication. The survey was conceived as a primary output by the Metadata 2020 Researcher Communications Project and the survey instrument was developed with the assistance of stakeholder groups active in Metadata 2020.

Paglione, L., Kaiser, K., Urberg, M., Johnsson, M., Kemp, J., & Meadows, A. (2021). Data from: An international, multi-stakeholder survey about metadata awareness, knowledge, and use in scholarly communications [Excel spreadsheet]. Dryad, Dataset.

This document contains the Excel spreadsheet with all of the raw, unanalyzed responses to the Metadata 2020 Survey. Each stakeholder group is represented with its own tab. In addition, one tab contains all of the responses, another the demographics for the survey. The responses in these tabs may include incomplete responses. Two other tabs contain comparisons of how each stakeholder group has self-prioritized metadata fields and metadata schema, which are discussed in this paper further. The responses from each of the stakeholder groups consists of 87 librarians, 27 publishers, 48 repository managers, and 49 researchers from 23 countries.

My Role in Metadata 2020 and this study

I have been coordinating/leading the volunteer community of Metadata 2020 since 2019 for one of my clients. Their community-driven projects take many forms including publication of studies and other findings in peer-reviewed journals. This work included the development of a survey tool to better understand metadata awareness and use among researchers, publishers, data repository managers, and librarians. The paper summarizes the resulting insights, and the many supporting resources enable better insight into the raw data and analysis. In addition to writing and editing, a large part of my contribution was in data cleaning/normalization, analysis, and documentation.