Section (Meta)data, Termino­­lo­gies, Provenance

About us

To ensure that research data can be found and used efficiently, it must be associated with metadata. Metadata is information about the data, e.g., about the researchers who collected the data or about the license under which the data may be used. The section supports processes of the NFDI consortia in jointly developing and establishing common data and metadata standards as a foundation for effective reuse of research data in accordance with FAIR principles. In order to be able to link data from different sources in an interdisciplinary manner, semantic technologies (ontologies, knowledge graphs) are to be integrated in NFDI, which make it possible to generate knowledge and information in a machine-readable form. Uniform documentation procedures will make the creation and processing context (provenance) of data transparent. In the topic area of metadata and research data, the section addresses issues of (meta)data harmonization, discoverability of data, general data and metadata standards with a perspective on a possible NFDI core metadata format, as well as format conversions and persistent identifier systems. In the topic area of terminologies, the section will address cross-community and cross-disciplinary definitions of top-level ontologies and mappings of ontologies, as well as best practices for modeling terminologies, vocabularies, and ontologies, and data integration services based on them. In the area of provenance, the section will address legal, technical, and cultural aspects of the context of creation of (meta)data and design proposals for uniform and traceable documentation procedures to answer the questions of what, where, when, who, how, and why of data creation and data processing. The section will work in close cooperation with the sections “Common Infrastructures” and “Ethical, Social and Legal Aspects”, especially on the topics of terminologies and provenance.


The section includes all consortia and communities and strives for connecting and harmonizing the developments in consortia that work with similar data structures, standards and tools in the topics of the section and thus pursue similar goals:

  • Cooperative definition of top-level ontologies / mapping of ontologies.
  • Concepts and recommendations for the harmonization of (meta)data and terminology services for the NFDI and beyond.
  • Definition of cross-disciplinary minimum information standards / metadata for the scientific disciplines represented by NFDI
  • Development of concepts for annotating metadata elements with concepts from terminologies
  • Overview and evaluation of existing approaches and (emerging) best practices, harmonization of interfaces.

The section thus paves the way for the exploitation of synergies in the development of domain-independent metadata standards and use of infrastructure, and creates connecting nodes for the domain-specific integration and validation of basic services.

Working groups

Cookbooks, Guidance and Best Practice

Researchers need guidance in discovering and applying standards, and tools for (meta)data, terminologies, and provenance addressing their specific needs. In NFDI each consortium identifies, collects, and develops approaches that might be relevant for the broader research activities by and in the communities. The Working Group “Cookbooks, Guidance, and Best Practices” aims at identifying, collecting, exchanging and, where appropriate, harmonizing concepts, workflows, and best practices from consortia related to these topics and will develop support strategies to advance high-quality metadata production and provision. Contact: Susanne Arndt

Terminology Services

The core of FAIR metadata for research data management (RDM) are terminologies. Terminologies have various distinct characteristics: they describe domain knowledge (e.g. Chemistry, Biology or Information Science use their own set of terminologies), and they are constantly evolving over time and need to be accepted and agreed upon (mapped) within their knowledge domain and beyond. The overall goal of the Terminology Services Working Group is to drive common developments, share best practices, and reduce barriers to the use of terminologies. Contact: Roman Baum

Ontology Harmonization and Mapping

Consistent use of terminologies, and the organization of vocabulary items into structured ontologies are prerequisites of FAIR data, in particular regarding cross-community re-use and machine-actionability of research data. Each scientific discipline and each consortium in NFDI comes with pre-existing terminologies, shaped by respective needs. They are prone to have conceptual overlaps and – as in natural language – there are different ways of expressing the same concept. Harmonization refers to finding an agreement on a common terminology, whereas mapping refers to an “agreement to disagree”, while using a well-defined interface between terminologies. This working group is going to coordinate this essential work for the federation of data that are structured with domain ontologies. Contact: Philip Strömert 

Search and Harvesting

This working group focuses on how to extract, find, and use (meta)data, both for discovery and consumption of data by researchers (search/discovery) and for aggregation and indexing by discovery services (harvesting). The actors can be humans or machines. Contact: Brigitte Mathiak, Heinrich Widmann

Knowledge Graphs

Knowledge Graphs are a key technology for implementing the FAIR principles in data infrastructures by ensuring interoperability for both humans and machines. The Working Group “Knowledge Graphs” aims to promote the use of knowledge graphs in all NFDI consortia, to facilitate cross-domain data interlinking and federation following the FAIR principles, and to contribute to the joint development of tools and technologies that enable the transformation of data into semantically reusable knowledge across different domains.

Contact: Renat Shigapov, Lozana Rossenova, Moritz Schubotz

Research Software Metadata

Research software is commonly used in various disciplines to perform research and as a research object itself. Therefore, it is covered by multiple NFDI consortia. To fulfill the FAIR criteria for research software, it needs to be described with meaningful and interoperable metadata enhancing transparency, reproducibility, and reusability in research. While there exist some metadata schemes for research software, e.g., CodeMeta, they have some limitations, e.g., missing elements and missing semantic interoperability.

To address these issues, this working group aims to provide a comprehensive metadata vocabulary for research software, compatible with existing frameworks such as and CodeMeta. Also, the working group will support all NFDI consortia in applying the vocabulary as well as develop domain-specific extensions if needed.

Contakt: Stephan Ferenz, Leyla Jael Castro

Dr. Oliver Koepler

Speaker: Dr. Oliver Koepler

(TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology University Library)

Dr. Brigitte Mathiak

Deputy speaker: Dr. Brigitte Mathiak 

(GESIS – Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences e.V.)

Participating institutions
  • Akademie der Wissenschaften Hamburg
  • Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz
  • Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen
  • Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
  • Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (BBAW)
  • Bundesverband Theatersammlungen in Deutschland (TheSiD) e.V.
  • Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
  • Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
  • Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Medizin (ZB MED) – Informationszentrum Lebenswissenschaften
  • Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI)
  • Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
  • Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum GmbH
  • Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH – Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsforschung GmbH (DZHW)
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)
  • digiCULT-Verbund eG
  • DIPF Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsforschung und Bildungsinformation
  • Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
  • FAIR-DI e.V.
  • FernUniversität in Hagen
  • FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
  • Freie Universität Berlin
  • Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
  • GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel
  • Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
  • Germanisches Nationalmuseum – Leibniz-Forschungsmuseum für Kulturgeschichte (GNM)
  • Gesellschaft für Biologische Daten e.V. (GFBio e.V.)
  • Gesellschaft für Informatik e. V.
  • GESIS – Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften e.V.
  • Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
  • Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH – UFZ
  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon
  • Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
  • HITS gGmbH
  • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • IAML – Deutschland e. V.
  • Innovationszentrum für Prozessdatentechnik (Inprodat) e.V.
  • Internationales Quellenlexikon der Musik e. V.
  • Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
  • Klassik Stiftung Weimar
  • Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
  • Leibniz-Institut für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.
  • Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP)
  • Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe (LIfBi) e.V.
  • Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS)
  • Leibniz-Institut für Katalyse e.V.
  • Leibniz-Institut für Maritime Geschichte
  • Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
  • Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung
  • Leibniz-Institut für Photonische Technologien e.V. (IPHT)
  • Leibniz-Institut für Plasmaforschung und Technologie e.V. (INP)
  • Leibniz-Zentrum für Archäologie (LEIZA)
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
  • Max Weber Stiftung – Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland
  • Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung
  • OFFIS e.V.
  • Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
  • Philipps-Universität Marburg
  • Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
  • Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften Leipzig
  • Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
  • Technische Hochschule Köln
  • Technische Universität Berlin
  • Technische Universität Braunschweig
  • Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Technische Universität Dortmund
  • Technische Universität Dresden
  • Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
  • TIB – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Technik und Naturwissenschaften und Universitätsbibliothek
  • Universität Bielefeld
  • Universität Bremen
  • Universität der Künste Berlin
  • Universität Duisburg-Essen
  • Universität Leipzig
  • Universität Mannheim
  • Universität Paderborn
  • Universität Stuttgart
  • Universitätsmedizin Greifswald KdöR
  • Verbundzentrale des GBV (VZG)
  • Verein für Computergenealogie e.V.
  • Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU)
  • Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig – Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere
Participating persons
  • Volker Adam
  • Ivonne Anders
  • Tobias Arera-Rütenik
  • Christian Aßmann
  • Nagaraj Bahubali Asundi
  • Linda Baldewein
  • Markus Becker
  • Renate Behrens
  • Alexander Berg-Weiß
  • Noemi Betancort
  • Mirjam Blümm
  • Thomas Bocklitz
  • Christian Bölling
  • Christian Bonatto Minella
  • Zeyd Boukhers
  • David Broneske
  • Torsten Bronger
  • Björn Brötz
  • Jan Bumberger
  • Boyke Bunk
  • Silvia Chiacchiera
  • Andreas Christ
  • Philipp Cimiano
  • Roberto Cozatl
  • Andreas Czerniak
  • Andreas Daniel
  • Silvia Daniel 
  • Michael Denker
  • Jürgen Diet
  • Stephan Dörschel
  • Frank Dührkohp
  • Dr. Ulrike Ehmig
  • Harry Enke
  • Stephan Ferenz
  • Michael Finkel
  • Juliane Fluck
  • Konrad Förstner
  • Andreas Frech
  • Fabian Fricke
  • Marc Fuhrmans
  • Christoph Garth
  • Eva-Maria Gerstner
  • Luca Ghiringhelli
  • Martin Golebiewski
  • Sandra Göller
  • Jonas Grieb
  • Peter Grobe
  • Matthias Grönewald
  • Stephan Hachinger
  • Hamideh Hajiabadi
  • Michael Hanke
  • Nicolas Hayen
  • Felix Henninger
  • Christin Henzen
  • Gerhard Heyer
  • Christian Himpe
  • Julian Hniopek
  • Volker Hofmann
  • Timothy Holbrook
  • Dorothea Iglezakis
  • Holger Israel
  • Ariane Jeßulat
  • Angela Kailus
  • Naouel Karam
  • Ashish Karmacharya
  • Bhavin Katabathuni
  • Jürgen Kett
  • Mohammad Khatamirad
  • Wibke Kleina
  • Paul Klemm
  • Olaf Kletke
  • Birgitta König-Ries
  • Oliver Koepler
  • Chantal Köppl
  • Anne Koziolek
  • Angela Kranz
  • Susanne Kunis
  • Alessandra Kuntz
  • Herbert Lange
  • Elfrun Lehmann
  • Timm Lehmberg
  • Johannes Liermann
  • David Linke
  • Brigitte Mathiak
  • Juliane Menger
  • Katrin Moeller
  • Robert Nasarek
  • Steffen Neumann
  • Dennis Niewerth
  • Taras Petrenko
  • Judith Pfeiffer
  • Klaus Pietschmann
  • Andre Pirralha
  • Renate Polak-Bennemann
  • Etienne Posthumus
  • Dagmar Quandt
  • Andreas Redelbach
  • Stephanie Rehwald
  • Lorenz Reimer
  • Elena Rey Mazón
  • Thomas Richter
  • Xenia Ritter
  • Raphael Ritz
  • Thomas Rose
  • Daniel Röwenstrunk
  • Harald Sack
  • Stefan Sandfeld
  • Kristin Sauerland
  • Björn Schembera
  • Hansjörg Scherberger
  • Gunther Schiefer
  • Sirko Schindler
  • Carsten Schmidt
  • Markus Schnöpf
  • Thomas Schörner
  • Torsten Schrade
  • Daniela Schulz
  • Jan Sören Schwarz
  • Renat Shigapov
  • Emanuel Söding
  • Xenia Specka
  • Arnost Stanzel
  • Regine Stein
  • Rainer Stotzka
  • Martin Stricker
  • Dieta Svoboda-Baas
  • Dzulia Terzijska
  • Suvasini Thangaraj
  • Florian Thiery
  • Victoria Tokareva
  • Thorsten Trippel
  • Björn Usadel
  • Axel Vitzthum
  • Frank Weber
  • Amanda Wein
  • Dirk Weisbrod
  • Oliver Werth
  • Jörg Wettlaufer
  • Heinrich Widmann
  • Rebecca Wilm
  • Dirk Wintergrün
  • Atinkut Alamirrew Zeleke