Datacite relationType

Hi folks, I’ve got two questions related to DataCite relationType metadata for datasets.

  1. A dataset is published and there is a previously published journal article that describes the methods used for analyzing the data. Which relationType should I use to relate the dataset record to the methods paper?

  2. Datasets are being retroactively published for previous papers which are based directly on these datasets. Since Cited, Referenced, and Supplement do not seem to apply, what relationType should I use?


For the first use case, I would suggest using Cites or References (e.g. the dataset Cites/References/ the methodology paper). In this case, the dataset references the methodology paper, but the methodology doesn’t reference/cite the dataset. A paper describing a methodology may not refer to the dataset in any way, and could have been published years prior.

For the second use case, the relationType would go in the opposite direction. Because the paper is based directly on the dataset, it does “reference” it even though it lacks a formal citation. For this case, I would recommend using IsReferencedBy.

I should note that for citation and reference counts, IsCitedBy, IsReferencedBy, and IsSupplementTo are considered equivalent and count as citations (as in, object A gets a citation from object B). In the other direction, Cites, References, and IsSupplementedBy are considered equivalent and count as references (as in, object A references object B). The three types help to accommodate semantic differences like your second use case, where there isn’t a formal citation but the relationship is citation-like. You can find more information on the different relationTypes here: RelationType for Citations and References

Thanks Kelly, this is helpful. Do you know if there is interest in developing more relationTypes to accurately represent more granular semantic relationships?

We’re always open to community feedback on the metadata schema! Are there specific relationships that you would like to see added?

Hi Brian and Kelly

Thank you for starting this topic. I have similar questions regarding which relationType to select, - so this discussion is very informative.

The use case is this:

We are currently running a pilot project about DOI for instruments. The objective is to display instruments and document their use in scientific experiments, track the scientific output of the instrument (datasets and research papers), and to enable persistent linking between instruments, journal articles and datasets.
The PIDINST whitepaper and cookbook are very useful in the process. However it is not clear to me how to best index the relations with the DataCite metadata properties.

So my questions is this: Which relation type is appropriate in…

Case A: An instrument has been used in creating a dataset. The dataset has resulted in a research paper. I wish to display and index the relation between the research paper and the instrument in the instrument metadata.

Ideally the instrument should be cited in the paper in order to track and document the use of the instrument, but currently we can only record the relations retrospectively as there is not yet a practice of citing instruments in papers.

Case B: An instrument has been used in creating data. The dataset is published with a DOI. I wish to display and index the relation between dataset and instrument in both the DataCite metadata of the dataset and that of the instrument.

Does anyone has suggestions how to approach this?

Thank you very much.


@Sigga, thanks for raising this! This is currently a gap in the relationType options and will be addressed in version 4.5 of the metadata schema.

We’ll be sharing a draft of version 4.5 for public comment very soon. I’ll post on the PID Forum when it’s ready—we would love to get your feedback on the proposed new relationTypes for these cases!


Hi @KellyStathis Excellent. I can see that the draft of the Schema 4.5 has been opened for feedback today : )

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