Freshwater Metadata Journal

The first journal set up to exclusively publish freshwater related metadata was launched online at the beginning of October.

The Freshwater Metadata Journal – the first journal set up to exclusively publish the metadata of freshwater related datasets – was launched online on October 8th.

Metadata describes how, why and when a dataset was collected, by whom, and for what purpose, alongside any intellectual property rights. Metadata provides a rich set of contextual information about a dataset, which is very useful to researchers undertaking new analyses and applications of the data itself. The value of metadata – the ‘data about data’– in ecological sciences is increasingly well recognised and collecting such data is gradually becoming more common in the scientific community.  

However, publishing metadata is often seen as “non-scientific” work and established scientific journals are often reluctant to release articles exclusively focusing on the description of a dataset. At the same time, there is a growing need for researchers to be able to easily locate existing scientific datasets for large-scale analyses whilst encouraging the re-use of datasets collected with public funds, which might otherwise be inaccessible.

The Freshwater Metadata Journal is a response to this need and seeks to link scientific research articles with the data they use. It provides researchers and data managers with an online, fully automated process to easily publish freshwater (biodiversity) related metadata, providing a simple way for scientists to describe and contextualise the data used in their work. All information on datasets is open-access with an assigned digital object identifier (DOI), which makes them easy to trace and cite within the scientific community.

The journal was initiated through the work in BioFresh – an EU-funded project that compiled together the widely dispersed information about life in our rivers and lakes, to better understand, manage and protect our freshwaters for generations to come. BioFresh launched the related Global Freshwater Biodiversity Atlas earlier in the year.

The Freshwater Metadata Journal was developed under the aegis of the Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management (BOKU, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna) in cooperation with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (Brussels).

Dr. Astrid Schmidt-Kloiber
Institute of Hydrobiology and Ecosystem Management
Tel.: +43-1-47654-5225