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DataCite is a partnership that is dependent on membership fees. DataCite members exist in a variety of international research and governance frameworks and are free to establish business models most appropriate to their situation. For example, some DataCite members consider the DataCite service as a national responsibility and receive government funding, some DataCite members have developed subscription models that seek to return costs, and other members implement their DataCite service as a market driven business, charging market determined fees.
DataCite has two levels of participation: full membership and associate membership. Full membership is geared towards national libraries and data centres, while associate membership is open to a broader group of organisations who support the aims and interests of DataCite.
Presently there are 15 full members across 10 countries in the association and a further 4 associate members. DataCite membership is open for interested organisations meeting certain criteria to apply to join as either a full or associate member.
DataCite is incorporated under German Law as a not for profit charitable association. The duration is ongoing and the statutes account for changing membership.
DataCite focuses on bringing together the datasets community to collaboratively address the challenges of making data visible and accessible. Through collaboration, DataCite seeks to:
- support researchers by helping them to find, identify, and cite research datasets with confidence
- support data centres by providing persistent identifiers for datasets, workflows and standards for data publications
- support journal publishers by enabling research articles to be linked to the underlying data
DataCite is implementing Digital Object Identifier (DOI) registration services as its core business proposition. DOI is an instance of the handle (hdl) infrastructure combined with the idecs content model that is maintained and managed by the International DOI Foundation (IDF).
As a registration agency of the IDF, DataCite has the authority to use and register DOI names, and to transfer the licence to register DOI names to its users. DataCite collects metadata associated with datasets assigned DataCite DOIs and maintains these in the DataCite Metadata Store (MDS)
DataCite considers datasets to be an ambiguous and discipline-specific term. They consider many digital objects applicable to DOI services. Generally these are limited to objects for which citation is useful. DataCite supports citation of data.
DataCite provides services for minting DOIs and registering associated metadata (via API and web form). DataCite also provides a dataset registry (‘Metadata Store’) and is developing functionality upon this registry, such as discovery services.
The DOI minting service is open only to those provided access by DataCite members. The majority of DataCite members offer a subscription model for trusted data repositories. The DataCite Metadata Store will be available for indexing services and both public, with possible premium ‘value-added’ services, such as citation linking, content negotiation, semantic enriching etc.
DataCite has a broad aim to collaboratively address the challenges of making data visible and accessible. DataCite is currently focused on developing services based around the DOI infrastructure, but it takes an open approach to identifiers and considers other systems and services that help forward its objectives.
DataCite is a young, discipline neutral initiative that has gained considerable support internationally from a range of well-recognised information management organisations. DOIs are widely recognised within the research and publishing communities, but effort is needed to establish good practice guidelines for applying DOIs to datasets and to gather support for dissemination of datasets as first class objects in scholarly communication.
Support is provided on two levels. DataCite members generally provide direct technical and usability support to their users as a community or subscription service. Normally this is where clear user requirements and development needs are collected. In addition there is an annual summer meeting that brings together those using DataCite services and those who are interested in DataCite services to talk about corporate level issues, applications and engagement.