Metadata for Improving Discoverability, Sharing, Collaboration, and Reuse of Your Work


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Metadata: The Key to Discoverability 

Metadata is the term used for any information about your research materials —  things like titles, descriptions, keywords, types of materials, etc. This information plays a crucial role in making your research more findable and easier to understand. It helps an outside researcher quickly find and identify projects worth citing further. Metadata should be descriptive, without being overwhelming. Short, succinct descriptions are key to garnering attention.


New Metadata Fields in OSF

New features in the OSF allow you to add information to meet funder requirements and describe the nature of your materials. Go to the “metadata” tab in your Project and Registration to add the following information:

  • Resource type to describe what kind of research material you are sharing (dataset, paper, image, etc.)
  • Language of your materials
  • The name of the funders that have funded or supported your research
  • The title of your specific award
  • An identifier for your award

Keywords are Key

On an OSF project or registration adding keywords or tags gives you the opportunity to add descriptive terms that may not appear in your description. Think about the keywords as a way to attract outside researchers to your work. Start with a broad scope, and work your way to a narrow focus. A good rule is to start with the discipline, then your field, then your model or theory, then specific terminology. For example, a project on influenza research might contain keywords like Biology (broad), Medical Research, Infectious diseases, Influenza, and H1N1 (narrow). The idea is to cast a wide net and funnel researchers to your work!

Tags can be added on OSF projects on the project home page, in the first step of the registration process, or by opening the “metadata” tab where other fields are available as well.

But What About Files? 

Files on OSF can have valuable meaning or data that can get lost in the context of a full project or registration. A brand new feature on the OSF is the ability to add metadata to files directly, highlighting their unique characteristics. This allows outside researchers to specifically find files within projects increasing the discoverability of your work! 

The new metadata editing interface to files is found on the individual file pages.

Want to Know More?

For more information on adding metadata to your work on the OSF please see our support guides on Metadata, or contact OSF Support for more information.

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