Re-scoping the definition of the PhysicalObject resourceTypeGeneral

Currently, the description of “PhysicalObject” in the DataCite Metadata Schema reads: “An inanimate, three-dimensional object or substance.” The IGSN-DataCite Metadata Working Group realized that this definition excludes physical samples and features-of-interest that may be animate, including living biological samples. Because IGSN IDs will be able to identify living samples, the Working Group suggests that an inclusive resourceTypeGeneral value for PhysicalObject should elide “inanimate” in its description and read, “A three-dimensional object or substance.” This change would support the adoption of DOIs and IGSN IDs in multiple disciplinary communities that deal with living samples.

We realize this change deserves consideration, especially from those who’ve used and use the PhysicalObject resourceTypeGeneral. Any thoughts on this change? @marco.marsella


Thanks for raising this @cody.ross - I’m tagging @TomDemeranville of ORCID as I know physical object is one of their work types, and I’ll also post on Twitter

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Thank you, @alicemeadows !

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ORCID is the “Open Researcher and Contributor ID”, I was under the impression that it should be used for humans, not for physical objects. Could somebody please clarify?

Hi Kerstin
Yes the ORCID identifier is for people but you can attach work types to people and physical object is one of those work types (a newer one only available with their API 3.0). At present ORCID defines physical object as “A specimen, sample, or other physical object used for research purposes; an inanimate three-dimensional object or substance.” So they may want to update this description along the same lines as Cody proposes, as it makes sense for PID organizations to be consistent in their definitions…