Seamless flow of content between systems and across institutional boundaries is one of the core – if perhaps utopian – goals of information management. At a basic level, there is within the research community a shared desire and a growing impetus to link publications to the datasets which underpin them, and to sustain these links for the longer-term. But while the publications will generally be held in comparatively stable repositories, data (and metadata) may be created, held in, and accessed via, a variety of different systems.
Furthermore, as data becomes increasingly accepted as a first-class research output in its own right, the types of (re-)user become more diverse: research funders and university administrators, for example, take a growing interest in usage statistics and impact, as well as monitoring compliance with the relevant policies. Each of the stakeholder groups has its own outlook on what they need research data to ‘do’, and the kinds of system they need to interface it with.