Creating Needs-Based Metadata and Research Data Management Services

Exploring the Requirements of Scientists


  • Tereza Kalová



Austria, Research Data, Research Data Management, Metadata, Needs Assessment, Natural Sciences


Objective — Detailed needs-assessments of the target groups are of particular relevance when developing new services for eScience. This study aims to identify the demands of researchers in natural sciences regarding metadata for research data.

Methods — This paper applies the key points of Grounded Theory to analyze eight semi-structured interviews with scientists from the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna. The interviews were conducted from April to May 2019 as part of the project e-Infrastructures Austria Plus funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research.

Results — The results illustrate how scientists understand the term “metadata”. The study identifies several examples of describing data as well as six areas of researchers' requirements for data management services. These include the need to design efficient solutions in German and English, the demand for technical infrastructure and dedicated data stewards who bring expertise from a relevant discipline. Service providers further need to take interdisciplinary differences into account when developing new forms of training and support.

Conclusion — While the researchers’ statements highlight the various ways they describe data, the interviews also indicate a lack of understanding of the term “metadata”. Together with the six areas of needs and requirements, these demonstrate the need for action by libraries and other service providers in order to further contribute to the development of sustainable research data management.

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