DataCite Metadata Schema

The DataCite Metadata Schema is a list of core metadata properties chosen for an accurate and consistent identification of a resource for citation and retrieval purposes, along with recommended use instructions.

Metadata Schema 4.0

The DataCite Metadata Schema 4.0 comes with improvements to name identifiers, funding information, resource types, and other modifications:

  • Changing resourceTypeGeneral from optional to mandatory
  • Addition of a new property: FundingReference, with subproperties funderName, funderIdentifier, awardNumber, awardURI and awardTitle. Deprecation of contributorType “funder”
  • Addition of new optional subproperties for creatorName and contributorName: familyName and givenName
  • Addition of a new relatedIdentifierType option “IGSN”
  • Addition of a new subproperty for GeoLocation “geoLocationPolygon”, and changing the definition of the existing GeoLocation subproperties (geoLocationPoint and geoLocationBox)

The DataCite Metadata Schema 4.0 was released on May 14, 2016 and is available in the Test Metadata Store. It will be made available for production use in September 2016.

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Older Versions

DataCite Metadata Schema 3.1

Released 16 Oct 2014. Changes in this version include:

  • New affiliation attribute for Creator and Contributor
  • New relationType pairs IsReviewedBy/Reviews and IsDerivedFrom/IsSourceOf
  • New contributorType: DataCurator
  • New relatedIdentifier types: arXiv and bibcode

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DataCite Metadata Schema 3.0

Released 24 Jul 2013.

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DataCite Metadata Schema 2.2

Released 1 Jul 2011.

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DataCite Metadata Schema 2.1

Released 28 Mar 2011.

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For our Metadata store all these versions are valid, although only one version is considered preferred at any given moment of time. Starting with version 3.0 only major releases will have a new namespace.

The version number is formatted as: Major.Minor

  • Major Version — A major release is for adding features that require breaking backward compatibility with previous versions or represent fundamental changes. For a major release, the MAJOR component is incremented by one and the MINOR component is set to zero, e.g. 3.1 to 4.0.
  • Minor Version — A minor release is for adding features that do not break backward compatibility with previous versions and for fixing bugs that may or may not break backwards compatibility. For a minor release, the MINOR component is incremented by one, e.g. 3.0 to 3.1.

Each incoming Metadata store XML document should indicate the schema location in the root element.

Each available version of a schema is a subdirectory containing a set of files. These files constitute a single metadata version. They include all the required xsd files, sample xml files and documentation. The files don’t reference any other files outside of their version subdirectory.

Obsolete Versions

These versions are no longer accepted by the DataCite MDS.

Metadata Working Group

The key to making data citable, searchable and accessible is equipping datasets with metadata – descriptions of and facts and figures about the data – that meets basic standards and adheres to uniform, consistent schema. The Metadata Working Group determines and maintains DataCite’s metadata standard, in consultation with DataCite members and under the guidance of the DataCite Board. The working group actively seeks the broader community’s input and coordinates with community standards, such as ORCID, Open Funder Registry, IDF and DCMI.

The current members of the Working Group are:

  • Joan Starr, California Digital Library (co-chair)
  • Madeleine de Smaele, TU Delft (co-chair)
  • Jan Ashton, British Library
  • Amy Barton, Purdue University Library
  • Tina Bradford, NRC/CISTI
  • Anne Ciolek‐Figiel, Inist‐CNRS
  • Stefanie Dietiker, ETH Zurich
  • Jannean Elliott, DOE/OSTI
  • Martin Fenner, DataCite
  • Berrit Genat, TIB
  • Karoline Harzenetter, GESIS
  • Stefan Jakobsson, SND
  • Mohamed Yahia, Inist‐CNRS


If you have any comments on

  • any challenges you face with the current schema - i.e. what’s not working for you?
  • any ideas you have for additions that would make the schema work better for you, or
  • questions you have about the schema,

please contact us via our Google discussion group. We will review the suggestions and comments on a monthly basis, and reply using this same discussion forum.