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RIF-CS 1.6.1 Changes (2015)

13 November 2015

The RIF-CS Advisory Board recently approved a number of changes to the RIF-CS Schema. These changes are now represented in a new minor version: 1.6.1.

Points to note

  1. No structural changes to the schema will be introduced with v1.6.1. Changes affect vocabulary terms only. All changes are optional. There are no backwards compatibility issues.
  2. This information provides advance notice of approved changes.
  3. ANDS systems and support materials will be updated to support the new version of the schema in December.

Changes from 1.6.0 to 1.6.1

1. Addition of new collection types: software, classificationScheme, publication

1a) software: one or more items that collectively represent a software product; including computer instructions (ranging in format from machine code to high-level programming languages); and associated non-executable items such as documentation.

Component affected: registryObject/collection/@type

Driver: Demonstrated demand from providers to publish software (of various types) as a first class research output.

Usage: Optional. This type should be used to describe software that supports research, including models and workflows. In some cases, the software may be required to reproduce a dataset. Use this type to publish and make discoverable software that may be downloaded, compiled, executed  and instantiated. The aim is to enable such software to be reused and cited by others. Its scope may range from a single source file to multiple files constituting a complete software product.

1b) classificationScheme: a list or arrangement of terms used in a particular context eg. ontologies, thesauri.

Component affected: registryObject/collection/@type

Driver: To support the publication of controlled vocabularies and similar resources via Research Vocabularies Australia.

Usage: Optional. This type should be used to describe a research asset that is comprised of terms used in a particular context. Use this type to publish and make discoverable classification schemes such as controlled vocabularies, authority lists, ontologies and thesauri that may be reused by others.

1c) publication: scholarly material consisting mainly of written text eg journal publications, book chapters.

It is not intended that collection type="publication" be implemented in the ANDS Registry.  It has been added to the list of types to support business requirements of other systems that use RIF-CS. In the ANDS Registry, providers should continue to use relatedInfo type="publication"  to describe a publication related to a collection.

2. Addition of relatedInfo type: provenance

provenance: information about how the data being described was derived or produced; including events (creation, assemble, annotate, and transform etc.), when and where an event happened, which instruments or software were used and who was involved.

Component affected: registryObject/collection/relatedInfo/@type

Driver: RIF-CS currently has some capacity to encode provenance information for a collection object; for example, description:type="lineage" as well as related service and party objects. However, some providers have fine-grained provenance information that can't be transformed  into a RIF-CS record. In other cases, they may not own the provenance information so are unable to describe all resources in a provenance chain. In addition, a small number of data providers have set up a provenance access and query service to generate a provenance report on the  fly. The addition of type= "provenance" to the relatedInfo suggested vocabulary is intended to support these use cases.

Usage: Optional. Use this type to point to provenance information located outside the ANDS Registry using a URI.

3. Addition of service type: store

store: provides infrastructure for the storage of a data object

Component affected: registryObject/service/@type

Driver: RDS Nodes provide storage services for an increasing number of collections described in RDA. However, the RDS Nodes were difficult to describe in RIF-CS as the existing Service types did not provide a good fit for describing services that provide data storage infrastructure.

Usage: Optional. With the introduction of this type, RDS Nodes and other data storage infrastructure providers can be described as a Service and related to collection descriptions in RDA.

4. Addition of identifier type: fundref

fundref: funder unique identifier assigned by CrossRef and maintained in the global FundRef registry

Component affected: registryObject/party/identifier/@type

Driver: FundRef identifiers are an effective means for identifying funding bodies in RDA. It is the same funder identifier used by major journal publishers. ANDS is encouraging providers to include funder and grant information when describing research outputs. ANDS will create Party records for all Australian funders in the FundRef taxonomy thereby enabling providers to easily make connections in RDA between funders and the outputs that result from the research they fund.

Usage: Optional. Provide the FundRef identifier to relate a collection description to the relevant funding body.

5. Amend accessRights type definitions: open, conditional, restricted

Component affected: registryObject/collection/rights/@type


An optional vocabulary for accessRights was introduced with RIF-CS v1.6.0 (December 2014). Since then, a number of providers have reported difficulty implementing these in practice as the distinction between access and license was blurred.

With the implementation of RIF-CS v0.1.6.1, the definitions of accessRights types will change to provide greater clarity for providers and users of RDA. The updated definitions are as follows:

Open: Data is publicly accessible online

Conditional: Data is publicly accessible subject to certain conditions. For example:

  • a fee applies;
  • the data is only accessible at a specific physical location.

Restricted: Data access is limited. For example:

  • following an embargo period;
  • to a particular group of users;
  • where formal permission is granted.

Details of conditions and restrictions may be provided as a free text value in accessRights.

Usage: For clarity, it is preferred that providers use rights:type=licence to describe license conditions and use rights:accessRights:type=[vocab term] to describe access conditions.

6. Amend 'hasCollector' relation type definition

Component affected: registyObject/collection/relatedObject/relation/@type


The current definition of the 'hasCollector' relation type was reported as being too vague to accurately describe the various relation types that may exist between a collection and related party. This can make it difficult to choose the most appropriate type and is also problematic for providers  crosswalking to RIF-CS from other schema such as ISO19115 and EML where different party-collection types are defined.

With the implementation of RIF-CS v1.6.1, the definitions will change:


  • hasCollector: has been aggregated by the related party
  • isCollectorOf: has aggregated the related collection


  • hasCollector: has been collected, generated, created or aggregated by the related party
  • isCollectorOf: has collected, generated, created or aggregated the related collection

Usage: no change from RIF-CS v1.6.0 noting there may be implications for those cross-walking to RIF-CS.

For feedback or questions, please email

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