Categorizing metadata to help mobilize computable biomedical knowledge

Brian S. Alper, Allen Flynn, Bruce E. Bray, Marisa L. Conte, Christina Eldredge, Sigfried Gold, Robert A. Greenes, Peter Haug, Kim Jacoby, Gunes Koru, James McClay, Marc L. Sainvil, Davide Sottara, Mark Tuttle, Shyam Visweswaran, Robin Ann Yurk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Introduction: Computable biomedical knowledge artifacts (CBKs) are digital objects conveying biomedical knowledge in machine-interpretable structures. As more CBKs are produced and their complexity increases, the value obtained from sharing CBKs grows. Mobilizing CBKs and sharing them widely can only be achieved if the CBKs are findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable, and trustable (FAIR+T). To help mobilize CBKs, we describe our efforts to outline metadata categories to make CBKs FAIR+T. Methods: We examined the literature regarding metadata with the potential to make digital artifacts FAIR+T. We also examined metadata available online today for actual CBKs of 12 different types. With iterative refinement, we came to a consensus on key categories of metadata that, when taken together, can make CBKs FAIR+T. We use subject-predicate-object triples to more clearly differentiate metadata categories. Results: We defined 13 categories of CBK metadata most relevant to making CBKs FAIR+T. Eleven of these categories (type, domain, purpose, identification, location, CBK-to-CBK relationships, technical, authorization and rights management, provenance, evidential basis, and evidence from use metadata) are evident today where CBKs are stored online. Two additional categories (preservation and integrity metadata) were not evident in our examples. We provide a research agenda to guide further study and development of these and other metadata categories. Conclusion: A wide variety of metadata elements in various categories is needed to make CBKs FAIR+T. More work is needed to develop a common framework for CBK metadata that can make CBKs FAIR+T for all stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10271
JournalLearning Health Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Information Management


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