Scholarly research is a practice almost as old as humanity, but the evolution of it has never changed as drastically as it has over the past two decades. The Digital Era has brought so many significant advancements that it’s impossible for a researcher to not be affected in some ways. One of these advancements is the use of metadata to optimize research efforts.
Metadata is the term used to describe all information that is collected, compiled, and accessed for further analysis and use. It’s obtained when users visit web pages, click on content, search for a keyword on web engines, and in so many other ways.
As controversial as the idea of a person’s information being collected without their consent is, metadata is an almost universally accepted practice. If you’re going online, you expect that data is being collected on you unless you have adopted stringent practices to prevent this from occurring.
Since metadata is such a widely used phenomenon, many scholars are jumping on board this train to optimize their own research efforts with this already available data.
Why is Metadata Important?
Although it’s a newly popular term, metadata has been around since humans have begun collecting information on demographics. It can be a manual process in which people survey others or write down their observations, but recently it has become more widespread as an automated method of collecting relevant information without human involvement.
Manual methods and automated processes are not perfect. Manual metadata is cross-checked for accuracy and irrelevant information can be removed, but there is the potential for human error. Automated metadata collection is quantitative only and the information collected is basic and surface-level.
Still, all metadata has a purpose. It collects information that can be used to drive research, marketing, policymaking, and a general societal change.
Compiled categories of metadata include tracking keywords, checking file names for repeated access, following authors and publications, and observing the type of data that is trending.
When researchers use the information obtained by the data collected, they know how to optimize their own work to enhance relevancy and make a better academic impact. If they can, for instance, adjust their work’s title to one that is more attractive to readers, they’ll have more interest. More interest means more readers, which means more knowledge imparted and a greater impact in general.
The Metadata Debate
Like with any new field, there are advantages and disadvantages as it begins to be perfected. The metadata debate in academics focuses on the fact that not all data is collected equally since there is no set framework of standards to be used. Additionally, all researchers don’t structure their work the same way, leaving lots of this data left as misunderstood or irrelevant.
Researchers should be provided a specific framework with which to structure the information that their work will demonstrate, helping the reader - and the metadata collection source - to understand the context of the source. This can help readers find and cite the data accurately, and increase readership. Through specified formatting of file names, title, author, date, keywords, stakeholders and funders, and other pertinent information, the data can be compiled consistently around the world and used for optimization better.
Optimizing Your Paper for Metadata
Learning the ropes of optimizing your research efforts by adding in metadata isn’t rocket science. It’s pretty basic, actually, and when you get the hang of it, you can make it part of your automatic process as you compile your work.
These quick and easy steps will help you get started to ensure your research is available to a wider audience:
● Create a title that sums up your work in 55 characters or less. This is how readers know what your article contains, but it’s also how web crawlers know to find the reader their target content.
● Decide on a meta description as a summary of your paper. This is a snippet of information that goes directly below the title when your work shows up on a search engine page. When you take the time to create this yourself, it lets you decide what the readers will see instead of an automatic preview of the content.
● Add Alt text to your graphics. Whether your graphic is a chart, table, or image, an alt text helps direct more readers your way. This image optimization is a form of keywords, or “key images” searching.
● Use headers where appropriate. You’re already breaking your paper into subsections. This is the same thing as headers, but unless you use this tool, your paper won’t be optimized accurately.
With these tiny tricks, your paper can make a big impact.
Use Impactio to Optimize Your Paper
It’s not always easy to know what’s best for your paper’s optimization. But with Impactio, we’re here to help guide you into creating a professional submission that packs a punch. Impactio is an all-in-one platform that lets you drag and drop your text into categories, create analytics reports and graphics to build your professional academic profile, and prepare your work for an easy transition into the online world.
When you work together with the platform scholars around the world use, optimization becomes a seamless process that readies your work for the maximum impact possible!