Published 12 July 2024


In order for your book to be discovered, publishers need to create metadata. This includes bibliographic information, such as title, abstract, publication date etc., but also about you as the author. Metadata is then passed on to stakeholders in the book publishing chain, such as service providers, platforms and tools, researchers, funders, librarians, data curators and repositories in order for others to discover your work.

Metadata has been referred to as a “standards jungle” (Bull & Quimby, 2016). Indeed, a minimum set of requirements is yet to be agreed. Some work has already been carried out in this area, such as the Jisc/OAPEN metadata model for open access books, which “recommends a provisional list of metadata for OA book publishers and other stakeholders” (Snijder, 2016). One of the outcomes of the COPIM project was to develop Thoth, an open source and open metadata management and dissemination platform to support publishers in providing high-quality solutions and services for metadata creation, management, dissemination, archiving and preservation.

Why is metadata important to you as an author?

  • If you can provide your publisher with correct metadata early in the process, this allows them to promote and disseminate your book’s metadata sooner, thus increasing the discoverability of your book and the increased use of your work.
  • Correct metadata means that your book can be more easily found. Bad metadata is the equivalent to a print book being mis-shelved.
  • Correct metadata also means that your book can be automatically linked to your author profiles on ORCiD and scholarly communications networks like ResearchGate.

Particular types of metadata are Persistent Identifiers (PIDs), “a long-lasting reference to a digital resource”. A recent report from Jisc discusses these in the context of their adoption and integration in the UK (Brown, 2020).

To enhance discoverability, ensure that your publisher will give your book one of these five types of PID to be aware of. The first two are in common use, while the final three are in development:

Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) A DOI is a unique identifier that can be given to a book or part of a book. DOIs are essential if the book is to be discovered through library discovery services and internet search engines. Your publisher should attach a DOI to your book as standard practice. However, DOIs at chapter level are becoming increasingly important for discovery.

Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID) An ORCID helps with author disambiguation. Authors can register for an ORCID and then claim their work via Crossref. Make sure you register for an ORCID and that your publisher includes your ORCID in author details (ORCID, 2019).

Funder Registry Funder Registry is a freely downloadable “taxonomy of grant-giving organisations”, which has the potential to make funder acknowledgement a simple clickable process. A Funder Registry from Crossref is yet to be fully implemented (Meddings, 2017).

Research Activity Identifier (RAiD) RAiD is an emerging PID currently used in Australia with the potential to be adopted more widely. It claims to connect “researchers, institutions, outputs and tools together to give oversight across the whole research activity and make reporting and data provenance clear and easy” (RAiD, 2019).

Institutional Identifiers Linking an author to their institution can prove challenging. Authors may affiliate with more than one institution. They may list a faculty, department or research centre in addition to the institution name, or there may be differences in the naming of the institution, such as Cambridge University or University of Cambridge. There is a number of institutional identifiers currently available, notably Research Organisation Registry (ROR) IDs and GRID, which have the potential to make this data more manageable.

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Last edited on 12 July 2024, at 11:20 (+0000)