Introducing Meta Metadata

In the context of scholarly journal publishing, we typically think of manuscript Metadata as “title,” “authors,” “citations,” and other text elements that are descriptive, but also reproduced in the body of the manuscript. The most common use of Metadata is for manuscript discovery.

shutterstock_259768787But the process of peer review adds substantial value beyond what is immediately visible in the text of the published document. For example, “R. Wynne” as an author name is metadata. However, peer review may have established that “R. Wynne” is employed at a particular institute, confirmed his participation in authoring a manuscript, and made ethical and other declarations concerning the underlying research and methods. That’s valuable Meta Metadata!

Meta Metadata is usually captured and stored in the peer review system, but is rarely visible in the published manuscript, other than by implication or brand inference. Exploiting Meta Metadata on publication platforms could be a source of differentiation that commands premium value over “vanilla,” or pure content versions of the manuscript, available for free.

At a time when, as Joseph Esposito noted in a recent Scholarly Kitchen post, brands “scour their own operations looking for new opportunities and hidden assets,” it may be worth thinking about what golden Meta Metadata is being stored in journal peer review systems!