IG Metadata Standards for Geochemical Data


Funding organizations and an increasing number of scientific journals request using generally agreed-on metadata standards to comply with the FAIR data principles when storing data in repositories. The view is that data can be reused in a trustworthy way only if sufficient metadata are available. The main goal is to reuse existing data and to combine data from different research areas to create new data products.  In geochemistry and related research areas, data and metadata on geological samples and materials are particularly diverse, which mostly reflects the wide spectrum of methods and data presentation. Various communities have developed their own standards of data description. However, practices are heterogeneous, and, in some cases, they could be better developed. The expansion of advanced analytical methods in geoscience research over the last two decades has not always been met with a level of documentation required for the reuse of such data. In 2009 and 2014, a group of editors of scientific journals in geochemistry provided recommendations on metadata descriptions for the publication and archiving of geochemical data. The impact of these recommendations has not met expectations. With recent initiatives such as OneGeochemistry and NFDI4Earth the opportunity now exists to assemble greater support behind data reporting standards.    Because of the larger amounts of data and even greater diversity in methods and data presentation today, the need for mutual standards for the different types of geochemical data is more pressing than any time before. The goal of the interest group will be to help channelizing efforts to improve these matters simultaneously on a national and international level.

Sub-fields of geochemistry such as hydrogeochemistry, cosmochemistry, biogeochemistry and other scientific fields (e.g., archaeology/archaeometry, material sciences) sometimes use different, sometimes similar geochemical data. Because of the breadth of applications in which such data is used, it became clear that the interest group initially should focus on specific topics. This includes linking metadata for instruments and methods to unique identifiers (e.g., PIDINST, IGSN) so that they can be used in accordance with the principles of FAIR and Open Data to be published and reused. From our discussions, several topical areas evolved, representing focus areas for future working groups:

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