A metadata template for ocean acidification data
Abstract. This paper defines the best practices for documenting ocean acidification (OA) data and presents a framework for an OA metadata template. Metadata is structured information that describes and locates an information resource. It is the key to ensuring that a data set will be accessible into the future. With the rapid expansion of studies on biological responses to OA, the lack of a common metadata template to document the resulting data poses a significant hindrance to effective OA data management efforts. In this paper, we present a metadata template that can be applied to a broad spectrum of OA studies, including those studying the biological responses to OA. The "variable metadata section", which includes the variable name, observation type, whether the variable is a manipulation condition or response variable, and the biological subject on which the variable is studied, forms the core of this metadata template. Additional metadata elements, such as investigators, temporal and spatial coverage, and data citation, are essential components to complete the template. We explain the structure of the template, and define many metadata elements that may be unfamiliar to researchers.