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The Metadata Coverage Index (MCI): A Standardized Metric for Quantifying Database Annotation Richness

Variability in the extent of the descriptions of data (metadata) held in public repositories forces users to assess the quality of records individually, which rapidly becomes impractical. The automatic scoring of records on the richness of their description enables sorting by quality. Here, we introduce an objective measure for metadata—the ‘Metadata Coverage Index’ (MCI): the percentage of available fields actually filled in a record or description. MCI scores can be calculated for a whole database, for individual records or for their component parts (variables or subsets of the data). The MCI score can be used to filter, rank or search for records, to assess the metadata quality of an ad hoc collection, or to determine the frequency with which fields in a particular record type are filled. Here we demonstrate the utility of MCI scores using metadata…

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