Licensing the metadata describing content published on OpenEdition

The metadata describing content published on OpenEdition’s four platforms is now available under CC0. After implementing its licensing policy on Calenda last March, OpenEdition is continuing to roll out a licensing policy based on Creative Commons 4.0 (CC) licenses. The policy will apply to newly published content on OpenEdition Books, OpenEdition Journals and Hypotheses from this autumn onwards. Marie Pellen, Director of OpenEdition, and Mélanie Carmona, Document Information Systems Administrator for Open Edition’s Data Service, and project manager for licensing policy rollout, remind us of the project’s goals and the challenges of applying FAIR principles.

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  • OpenEdition has drawn up a licensing policy for its four platforms and all their metadata as part of France’s National Fund for Open Science (FNSO) project, I-FAIR IR (Implementation of FAIR principles in research infrastructures). The idea is to bring scholarly publications even more in line with the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) movement. Which metadata is concerned by this policy?

Metadata consists of informational data describing a piece of content. Among other things, it includes the title, author, date of publication, summary, key words, URL and DOI. Metadata is an important referencing and content visibility tool. The more a publication’s metadata circulates, the higher up the listings the publication will be.

That’s why it is so important to include a CC0 notice. It makes it easier for interested parties to access and reuse metadata without having to obtain prior consent. Applying a CC0 notice to metadata on our platforms meets FAIR’s “R” principles on optimising the reuse of data in general.

  • What does that mean in practice for your platform user communities?

For harvesters, when a document’s metadata is covered by a CC0 notice, they are free to extract the metadata and index it in their own SEO tools, without requesting prior consent or drawing up an agreement.

  • How can harvesters access this type of information?

The CC0 notice covering the metadata of each piece of content is available on the systems used to index our content: 
Coverage list
OAI-PMH repository
MARC record

  • The OpenEdition team is working hard to enable the infrastructure to apply FAIR principles even more stringently at every level. What other projects are underway?

A default licensing policy for editorial content, which will be introduced gradually on OpenEdition Books, OpenEdition Journals and Hypotheses platforms from autumn 2023, will also contribute to the “R” principle on reusing publications.

We are currently finalizing another aspect of the I-FAIR IR project, with the goal of assigning persistent identifiers (PID) to all documents on OpenEdition’s platforms.

This process will be based on a combined Handle and DOI system, and should be in place by the end of 2023.

Assigning PIDs to content meets FAIR’s “F” principles because the idea is to make it easier for readers and machines/harvesters to find content.

Our goal, therefore, is to ensure we gradually incorporate FAIR principles throughout, to improve our infrastructure at every level in an incremental and coordinated way. One of the next phases is to set up an author authority file with identifiers. We did the groundwork based on feedback from the CCSD and Persée, and ABES’s expertise. The corresponding project was submitted in response to the third call for projects launched by the FNSO, and we hope to start the project in 2024.


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