RO-Crate is a community effort to establish a lightweight approach to packaging research data with their metadata. It is based on schema.org annotations in JSON-LD, and aims to make best-practice in formal metadata description accessible and practical for use in a wider variety of situations, from an individual researcher working with a folder of data, to large data-intensive computational research environments.
The specification defines a method, known as RO-Crate (Research Object Crate), of organizing file-based data with associated metadata, using Linked Data principles, in both human and machine readable formats, with the ability to include additional domain-specific metadata.
The core of RO-Crate is a JSON-LD file, the RO-Crate Metadata File, named
ro-crate-metadata.jsonld. This file contains structured metadata about the dataset as a whole (the Root Data Entity) and, optionally, about some or all of its files. This provides a simple way to, for example, assert the authors (e.g. people, organizations) of the RO-Crate or one its files, or to capture more complex provenance for files, such as how they were created using software and equipment.
While providing the specification for RO-Crate, the document also aims to be a practical guide for software authors to create tools for generating and consuming research data packages, with explanation by examples.
RO-Crate development and discussion is done openly in a GitHub repository by volunteers from a range of institutions across multiple academic domains, with monthly telcons to synchronize the effort. Anyone can join to help form the RO-Crate approach. The RO-Crate activity is chaired by Eoghan Ó Carragáin from University College Cork, Peter Sefton from University Technology Sydney, and Stian Soiland-Reyes from the eScience Lab at The University of Manchester.
To cite the RO-Crate project, use:
Eoghan Ó Carragáin; Carole Goble; Peter Sefton; Stian Soiland-Reyes (2019): A lightweight approach to research object data packaging. Bioinformatics Open Source Conference (BOSC2019) https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3250687
To cite the RO-Crate specification 0.2 use:
Peter Sefton, Eoghan Ó Carragáin, Stian Soiland-Reyes, Oscar Corcho, Daniel Garijo, Raul Palma, Frederik Coppens, Carole Goble, José María Fernández, Kyle Chard, Jose Manuel Gomez-Perez, Michael R Crusoe, Ignacio Eguinoa, Nick Juty, Kristi Holmes, Jason A. Clark, Salvador Capella-Gutierrez, Alasdair J. G. Gray, Stuart Owen, Alan R Williams (2019): RO-Crate Metadata Specification 0.2. Working Draft. researchobject.org community https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3406498