Guidelines for publishing structured metadata on the Web


Guidelines for publishing structured metadata on the Web

By Mingfang Wu

Research Metadata Schemas WG

Group co-chairs: Mingfang WuSarala WimalaratneAdam ShepherdLeyla Garcia

Recommendation title: Guidelines for publishing structured metadata on the Web 

Authors: Mingfang Wu, Nick Juty, RDA Research Metadata Schemas WG, Julia Collins, Ruth Duerr, Chantel Ridsdale, Adam Shepherd, Chantelle Verhey, Leyla Jael Castro

DOI: 10.15497/RDA00066

Citation:  Wu, M., Juty, N., RDA Research Metadata Schemas WG , Collins, J., Duerr, R., Ridsdale, C., Shepherd, A., Verhey, C., & Castro, L. J. (2021). Guidelines for publishing structured metadata on the Web V3.1. Research Data Alliance. DOI: 10.15497/RDA00066



The FAIR principles refer frequently to metadata as a key enabler in discoverability, but also having a major role in accessibility and reusability. Publishing structured metadata on the web can provide a simple and efficient means to increase the FAIRness of research resources: it exposes metadata contained in web pages through a formal mechanism, allowing systematic collection and processing by web-based crawlers. Efforts to adopt structured metadata within and across domains would benefit greatly from a set of recommendations that would help ensure consistent implementation leading to enhanced discoverability and accessibility of data. Based on community consultation and subsequent work, these guidelines provide nine recommendations to support the process of publishing structured metadata on the web, namely:

  • Recommendation 1: Clarify the purpose(s) of your markup
  • Recommendation 2: Identify what resource are to be marked up with structured data
  • Recommendation 3: Adopt or develop a crosswalk from a repository schema to markup vocabulary
  • Recommendation 4: Incorporate external vocabulary if it helps to improve data discoverability and interoperability
  • Recommendation 5: Implement markup syntax consistently by following community practices
  • Recommendation 6: Be friendly to web crawlers
  • Recommendation 7: Make the best use of available tools for mapping, generating and validating structured data
  • Recommendation 8: Document and share every step
  • Recommendation 9: Find and join a community, and follow their established practices
Output Status: 
RDA Endorsed Recommendations
Review period start: 
Wednesday, 16 June, 2021 to Friday, 16 July, 2021
Group content visibility: 
Use group defaults
Primary WG Focus / Output focus: 
Domain Agnostic: 
Domain Agnostic