ECRIN - CESSDA strategies for cross metadata mappings in selected areas between life sciences and social sciences and humanities.
Background: The recent COVID-19 pandemic dramatically underlined the multi-faceted nature of health research, requiring input from basic biological sciences, pharmaceutical technologies, clinical research), social sciences and public health and social engineering. Systems that could work across different disciplines would therefore seem to be a useful idea to explore. In this study we investigated whether metadata schemas and vocabularies used for discovering scientific studies and resources in the social sciences and humanities and in clinical research are similar enough to allow information from different source disciplines to be easily retrieved and presented together. Methods: As a first step a literature search was performed, exemplarily identifying studies and resources, in which data from social sciences and the humanities have been usefully employed or integrated with that from clinical research and clinical trials. In a second step a comparison of metadata schemas and related resource catalogues in ECRIN (European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network) and CESSDA (Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives) was performed. The focus was on discovery metadata, here defined as the metadata elements used to identify and locate scientific resources. Results: A close view at the metadata schemas of CESSDA and ECRIN and the basic discovery metadata as well as a crosswalk between ECRIN and CESSDA metadata schemas have shown that there is considerable resemblance between them. Conclusions: The resemblance could serve as a promising starting point to implement a common search mechanism for ECRIN and CESSDA metadata. In the paper four different options for how to proceed with implementation issues are presented.