“Metadata curation is very important”: An Interview with Gabriela Mejias from DataCite

In this blog post, we interview Gabriela (Gabi) Mejias from DataCiteGabi has been working in the field of research infrastructure for the past six years. She’s DataCite Community and Program Manager. In her role she leads DataCite participation in the FAIR-IMPACT project. She also leads the Global Access Program, DataCite’s new initiative to increase equitable access to PID infrastructure. Previously, she worked at ORCID focusing on community engagement, driving membership and adoption across the Europe, Middle East and Africa region and within ORCID consortia. Gabi volunteers across many initiatives to promote openness and inclusion in scholarly communications. She serves in the Board of Networked Digital Library of Thesis and Dissertations (NDLTD) and in the NISO Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility committee. This year she’s also been part of the csv,conf,v7 organizing team. She has a degree in Communication Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina).

In a nutshell, what is DataCite, your role in DataCite, and why is DataCite important?

DataCite is a non-profit organisation that provides persistent identifiers (DOIs) for a wide range of research outputs and resources, from samples and images to data and preprints and beyond!. Organizations within the research community join DataCite as members to register DOIs and metadata for all their research outputs. DataCite enables the management of persistent identifiers (PIDs), integrate services to improve research workflows, and facilitate the discovery and reuse of research outputs and resources.

I wear two hats at DataCite: as a community manager I engage with the research community raising awareness of PIDs and as a program manager I lead our recently launched “Global Access Program”. We are organized as a global community and the work we do is important to ensure that research outputs and resources are openly available and connected so that their reuse can advance knowledge across and between disciplines, now and in the future. DataCite DOIs and metadata also enable transparency and recognition of contributions to research, hence they support open research practices.

Can you tell us what kinds of projects you are working on in DataCite? What’s new and exciting and what is something that is still ongoing?

I joined DataCite in May last year to contribute to the FAIR-IMPACT project, an EC funded project that aims to expand FAIR solutions across Europe. I’m leading the group that is working to deliver a shared long-term vision for Persistent identifiers in EOSC (European Open Science Cloud) and as our first milestone we delivered a joint value proposition for PIDs. Something both new and exciting I’m working on is our new Global Access Program, launched in January 2023 with the support of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The goal of the program is to improve equity in research infrastructure.

Most of our members are based in Europe and North America and we want to take a more proactive role in partnering with communities in other regions to develop and adopt open infrastructure for research. The program will take a comprehensive and collaborative approach to address current challenges. We will partner with regional communities to increase awareness of PIDs, support the development of technical infrastructure and provide funding opportunities for activities related to the program. Still early days of this program, and so far we’ve been focusing on a recruiting the team members that will focus on community engagement in Africa, Latin America, Middle-East and Asia. Stay tuned for updates in our blog!

What about libraries and librarians? What perspective should they consider regarding research data and access? How can libraries and librarians get involved? 

Academic librarians have been core promoters of open research and scholarship, and this includes a very active role in promoting data sharing best practices. In fact, academic libraries are a key stakeholder for PID adoption, many DataCite consortia are led by libraries! Some perspectives around research data: metadata curation is very important, as rich and complete metadata help increase discoverability and reuse of data.

In the last years there has been a lot of work done around the FAIR Principles promotion and implementation, the Research Data Alliance is a community doing a lot in this aspect and open for participation. Two interesting events in this field are: the Open Repositories conference that gathers together all those working with repositories and acknowledges the vital role open repositories play in preserving and creating access to scholarly outputs (this year’s edition will take place on June 12-15 in Cape Town, South Africa). The csv,conf is a community organized event that focuses on open data for research and beyond (v7 happened last week in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was amazing!).

Thank you for speaking with us! Anything else you like to share that we didn’t get to talk about?

Another exciting project DataCite is working on is building the Open Global Data Citation Corpus in partnership with Wellcome Trust, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and other scholarly communications organizations. The corpus will aggregate references to data across research outputs and it will help the community monitor impact, inform future funding, and improve the dissemination of research. The corpus will be developed within the framework of the The Make Data Count (MDC) initiative and will be publicly available under a cc0 license.