Glossary of commonly used terms

Open Research

Synonyms: Open Science

Open research refers to a scientific research process that is transparent, collaborative, and accessible to all. This approach emphasizes the sharing of data, methods, and results with the scientific community and the public, in order to facilitate the verification of findings and to enable others to build upon and replicate the work. Open research helps to promote scientific transparency, accountability, and reproducibility, and it has the potential to accelerate the pace of discovery and innovation.

Further reading:
Open Science - EU research and innovation

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

DOI is an acronym for “digital object identifier”. A DOI is a type of persistent identifier (PID) that uniquely identifies an object. Most commonly these are research objects like publications, datasets and software, but can be many other things. DOIs are intended to be a permanent way of identifying and accessing a particular resource. They form a persistent link that points to the repository or other digital location by including the URL in the metadata. This provides a system for persistent and actionable identification and interoperable exchange. DOIs remain fixed, but the location and other metadata may change. DataCite DOIs come with a metadata schema that includes a controlled vocabulary of different resource types to describe the content being shared.

Persistent identifier (PID)

PIDs are unique, long-lasting identifiers assigned to specific entities like a researcher, publication or dataset. PIDs ensure that the entity can be reliably and persistently retrieved and cited over time. Examples of PIDs include Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), ORCID iDs and ROR IDs.

Further reading:
Persistent identifiers - Digital Preservation Handbook

Meadows, A., L. Haak, L. and Brown, J., 2019. Persistent identifiers: the building blocks of the research information infrastructure. Insights: the UKSG journal, 32(1), p.9 .DOI:

Alice Meadows, Helena Cousijn, Maria Gould, Ginny Hendricks, Julie Petro, & Natasha Simons. (2021, January 27). PIDs 101: A Beginners' Guide to Persistent Identifiers. Zenodo.


Infrastructure refers to the fundamental basic framework of systems and networks underlying a structure, process or organization. PIDs play a crucial role in the research infrastructure supporting the development, delivery and use of research and information. Research relies on the underlying infrastructure which includes digital platforms and services such as those developed by DataCite.

Research output

A research output covers a wide range of resources produced through research. A few examples include; datasets, software, samples, theses, images, and publications.


Metadata is a specific set of information designed to provide a description of a resource. Metadata is essential so that research outputs can be discovered and reused.

Further reading:
UNC Library - Metadata for Data Management: A Tutorial: Definition
CODATA glossary
ARDC guide
Dataversity - A brief history of metadata
NISO - Understanding metadata
DublinCore - Creating metadata
Getty Blog- Metadata specialists share their challenges and defeats and triumphs

Metadata Schema

A metadata schema is a list of relevant criteria to help identify something. Some examples of metadata properties (also known as elements or fields) include:


DataCite has its own metadata schema that is domain agnostic. The DataCite metadata schema defines a set of metadata properties for DataCite DOIs. Each property in the schema is designed to help DataCite members share information about the research outputs they are sharing. There are six required properties. The rest of the properties are recommended or optional.

Landing page

All DOIs resolve, via the global handle server, to a landing page. The landing page is a way for the user to access the underlying content (e.g. where they can download a dataset), and contains metadata about the resource. It is the responsibility of the entity creating the DOI to provide such a landing page. A landing page/URL must be registered in order to create a findable public facing DOI.

Further reading
Best practices for DOI landing pages
The DOI system


A citation is a reference to supporting research outputs that underlie the content being published. In the same way researchers routinely provide a bibliographic reference to other scholarly resources - references to other research outputs like data, software, instruments and samples should also be included.

These types of resources are often shared, but they are not often cited in the same way as journal articles or other publications. This is important because it facilitates access, transparency and reproducibility, reuse, credit for researchers and visibility for the repositories that share research outputs. Repositories can participate by including information about publications that cite the data in DOI metadata.

Further reading
Cousijn, H., Feeney, P., Lowenberg, D., Presani, E., & Simons, N. (2019). Bringing Citations and Usage Metrics Together to Make Data Count. Data Science Journal, 18(1), 9.

Fenner, M., Crosas, M., Grethe, J. S., Kennedy, D., Hermjakob, H., Rocca-Serra, P., Durand, G., Berjon, R., Karcher, S., Martone, M., & Clark, T. (2019). A data citation roadmap for scholarly data repositories. Scientific Data, 6(1), 28.


DataCite Fabrica is a service that DataCite Members and Consortia can use to login and manage their DataCite accounts. It also has a tool for easy DOI registration.


Repositories play a key role in the DataCite membership model and are defined as a service operated by research organizations, where research materials are stored, managed and made accessible. A Repository is a single unit. A Repository account represents a store where all the DOIs for a group of resources are registered and will stay together. They have one unique prefix and are used exclusively for DOI registration. A Repository account may belong to a Direct Member or Consortium Organization.


In the DataCite membership model, a consortium is a group of organizations within one region or discipline that have come together to collectively participate in DataCite’s community and governance activities and use DataCite’s DOI services. A Consortium Lead account has permission to create and manage Consortium Organization accounts and new Repository accounts as well as contact information.

Consortium Organization

A Consortium Organization is part of a DataCite consortium. The Consortium Organization account has permission to create and manage new Repository accounts and update contact information.

Direct Member

In the DataCite membership model, a Direct Member supports DataCite's research sharing mission and is an organization that works with one or more repositories within their organization. A Direct Member account has permission to create new Repositories and update contact information.

Supporting Member

In the DataCite membership model, a Supporting Member is an organization supports DataCite’s data sharing mission and wants to collaborate with DataCite and/or be part of DataCite’s governance. These members do not register DOIs.