• Output Type: Adoption Report
  • Output Status: In Council Review Open
  • Review Period End: 2021-06-25
  • DOI:
  • Group: International Materials Resource Registries WG
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  • Non RDA Author(s)

  • Adopters

  • Abstract

    International Materials Resource Registries WG

    Group co-chairs: Raymond PlanteChandler Becker
    Recommendation title: International Materials Resource Registries Working Group: Final Report and Recommendations
    Authors: Chandler A Becker, Raymond L Plante, Andrea Medina-Smith, Sharief Youssef, Alden Dima, Laura M Bartolo, James A Warren, Robert J Hanisch, Brian Matthews, Asahiko Matsuda, Raphael Ritz
    DOI: 10.15497/RDA00058
    Citation:  Becker, C. A., Plante, R. L., Medina-Smith, A., Sharief Youssef, Dima, A., Bartolo, L. M., Warren, J. A., Hanisch, R. J., Matthews, B., Asahiko Matsuda, & Ritz, R. (2021). International Materials Resource Registries Working Group: Final Report and Recommendations. Research Data Alliance. DOI: 10.15497/RDA00058.


    A number of national initiatives are aimed at accelerating the development of new materials, and a key component of the strategy is greater access to experimental and simulation data. Under the drive of such initiatives, we are seeing rapid growth in the data that is available over the web. Consequently, it is becoming increasingly difficult for researchers to learn what data is available and how to access it. To address this problem, the RDA Working Group for International Materials Science Registries (IMRR) was established to bring together materials science and information technology experts. The aim is to establish an international federation of registries that can be used for global discovery of data and information resources for materials science. A resource registry collects high-level metadata descriptions of resources such as data repositories, archives, websites, and services that are useful for data-driven research. By making the collection searchable, it aids scientists in industry, universities, and government labs in discovering data relevant to their research and work interests. It can also serve as the basis for a variety of distributed data discovery systems.

    In this final report of the IMRR WG, we present the results of our successful piloting of a registry federation for materials science data discovery. In particular, we lay out a blueprint for creating such a federation that is capable of amassing a global view of all available materials science data, and we enumerate the requirements on the standards that make the registries interoperable within the federation. These standards include a protocol for exchanging resource descriptions and a standard metadata schema for encoding those descriptions. We summarize how we leveraged the existing Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) for metadata exchange and Extensible Markup Language (XML) to define our schema, incorporating both generic and materials science-specific metadata. The domain-specific metadata is based on a modest but general Materials Science Vocabulary. We outline an approach to schema definition based on extensions that enable the schema to evolve over time in a tractable way. Finally, we review the registry software developed to realize the federation and describe the user experience.

    Developing a successful international materials science resource registry requires a combination of technical and social processes. The latter are important for establishing consensus around standards. The Working Group was especially helpful in collecting input on a common Materials Science Vocabulary and getting contributions of resource descriptions from the global community. The pilot registry federation currently holds more than 360 resource description records distributed across two registry instances.

  • Impact Statement

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  • Explanation of Sustainable Development Goals

  • Citations

  • Primary Domain: Natural Sciences
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  • Group Technology focus: Dissemination
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