Good research conduct requires that each step of the research process as well as the materials used or produced are clearly documented and made accessible for subsequent use. Throughout the entire research data lifecycle, researchers create numerous resources documenting the research process (e.g., questionnaires, codebooks, data analysis replication codes). Ideally, each of these documents should be findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable. One way of meeting these criteria is by using metadata to organise the research process. Social scientists are currently using many different and sometimes proprietary software packages for data analysis that process metadata in different ways. Additionally, some metadata are only available as PDF documents or accessible online.
We are developing an open, non-proprietary, multilingual, metadata-enriched data format that can be used with common statistical programs while also letting you access metadata. The data products will be described directly by the metadata; they will be more accessible and interoperable and will re-use metadata. The project will also approach other communities using metadata to take their software or metadata schema requirements into account, thus expanding and integrating the user base for this new format. Specifications and software, including source codes, will be provided as FLOSS software under a license (e.g., CC, MIT, LGPL), making the products easy-to-use in different contexts.
- A first version of the specification (https://git.soep.de/opendata/specification) is available since 2022.